Tributes paid to Berwick man John Simmons
Tributes have been paid to John Simmons, the former company secretary of Tweeddale Press Limited and finance manager of The Scotsman Publications Limited who passed away on Monday aged 54.
John served with the Johnston Press Group businesses for 30 years before leaving to join Scottish Borders Housing in 2016.
During his career he helped steer Berwick-upon-Tweed based Tweeddale Press from a private limited company to a successful subsidiary of Johnston Press plc, following the sale of the business by the Smail family in 1999. He then went on to take charge of the finance function of The Scotsman Publications Limited in Edinburgh.
John was a very successful and enthusiastic sportsman, having played rugby for Berwick Colts and First 15, South of Scotland District 15 and Northumberland B15. His 40 year cricket career saw him playing for and captaining Berwick Cricket Club and playing for the South of Scotland.
He was known to all his workmates as a very reliable and trusted colleague. But, he also had the complete trust of his employers, a fact illustrated by him becoming a director of many different publishing businesses owned by the Smail family or Johnston Press. The list stretched to being a director of seven different companies at various times.
He also served as a voluntary director of Berwick Preservation Trust for 22 years, helping deliver a number of high-profile regeneration projects in the town.
Former managing director of Tweeddale Press Limited, Stuart Birkett, paid tribute to John, saying: “John was a huge force behind the success of Tweeddale Press Limited, both as a private company and after it was acquired by Johnston Press plc. He then went on to deliver the same incredible level of business support at The Scotsman.
“John was unusual, in that as well as being a superb management accountant, he was also a dedicated newspaper man.”