A Great Ryer and Englishman who had a Heart of Gold and who could bring the the World Alive with just a Pen
There are some people you meet as you go along time’s highway that are much larger than life. Jimper was one such person.
A country man with an unrivalled knowledge of plants and animals and an instinctive ability to write about them, or anything else if it came to it. Almost his entire life is documented in the hundreds of stories, books and articles he wrote.
No one could forget the opening line in the story of his early years
“The night I was born the World was in darkness”
The uncanny accuracies of his tales is easily explained. He kept a detailed dairy, writing up the days events before he went to sleep.
“Always put peoples full names in” he once told me
“That way you can separate the John’s and the Jim’s as time fades your memory”.
When Elvis Presley died, my brother Richard, who was a great fan, said
“He will live forever in his songs”
This always stuck with me and it is so true. Elvis is well known to people who weren’t even born till after he died – Jimper will live on in the same way – forever in his stories.
Everyone whose path Jimper crossed will have their own memories of him. Long John Silver with a collecting bucket and and a Parrot perched on his shoulder on Bonfire Nights. Jimper was top collector on many, many occasions.
Jimper outside Jempson’s signing his latest book, the full takings of which always went to a local good cause or charity.
I once had an American gentleman who came to the “Rye’s Own” office, when we were in Cinque Ports Street and asked to buy back numbers of the magazine.
“I only want the ones with Jimper’s articles in them”. He told me.
I offered him the first twenty on the rack – Every one had something of Jimper’s in it. He ended up taking forty, he would have had more, but thought that would put him over the weight limit on his return journey to Boston!
Jimper was a unique person. We saw him as a scrap merchant, as a farmer, a fisherman, Bee keeper, even a politician. He created the Sutton Industrial Unit at Winchelsea Beach. He has been Bonfire Boy’s Chairman, served on Rye Town Council, served on Icklesham / Winchelsea Parish Council. Most of us saw him as all these things but predominantly we saw him as an Author. We learned much about him, and ourselves from his writings.
I can’t think of another writer who covered so much ground. I remember the very last time I saw him and he told me two of his books had been withdrawn from sale at a local store because they were “Too erotic” – He chuckled when I said that would turn them into best sellers.
He published almost twenty books covering so many subjects from novels to Bonfire Stories. Many are out of print now but stories from them all, and hundreds of short stories, many unpublished, will appear in the pages of “Rye’s Own” throughout the months and years ahead.
Jimper is with us no longer, but his knowledge, experience, adventures, stories and memories will continue to entertain, inspire and brighten our lives, and the lives of many yet unborn, throughout the continued history of the town of Rye he loved so well
“Rye’s Own” Bulletin Wednesday 22 June 2016