Former Ely Standard Editor John Ison - and a former Ely mayor and former district councillor- dies after a lengthy illness

John Ison, former Ely Standard Editor and former City of Ely Mayor, who has died aged 76

John Ison, former Ely Standard Editor and former City of Ely Mayor, who has died aged 76 - Credit: Archant

Former Ely Standard Editor John Ison – and a former mayor of Ely and district councillor- has died, aged 76, following a long illness.

Mr Ison lived and worked in Ely for more than 20 years, editing the Ely Standard for 10 of those. He was mayor of Ely in 2006-7.

During a career that spanned more than 50 years in publishing he built a solid reputation for writing, designing and editing not only newspapers but magazines and handbooks and even at one time a national tourism magazine. He also wrote a specially commissioned booklet to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Ely diocese.

Mr Ison’s interests during his time in Ely were diverse and substantial; he was also a prolific fund raiser for many local causes.

In 2006, whilst mayor, he married his long term-partner Cheryl, 25 years after they first met.

The couple married on Cheryl’s 60th birthday in a ceremony attended by five daughters and two grandsons.

He told wedding guests: “We were married in the same year that would have seen us celebrating our silver wedding anniversary if we had married all those years ago. But we didn’t want to rush into anything!”

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His daughter Helen said: “Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012 so it’s testament to his strength of character that he refused to be beaten by it for so long.

“He was a very big presence in our lives, but in a quiet way really, we knew we could always rely on him, always had his support and love.

“Moreover he was always there to check our spelling - even on birthday cards!

“If you wanted to know anything Dad was the go to person, he just seemed to know so much. He will be sorely missed.”

Debbie Davies, who took over from Mr Ison as editor, said: “I was John’s deputy at Ely for five years and have fond memories of him.

“The perfect gentleman and someone who worked tirelessly for the community he loved. He was also supportive and understanding and someone with whom you felt able to share personal problems as well as the work-related.

“He really was the font of all knowledge. There was not a subject that he didn’t know something about and he was always willing to share that knowledge or offer an interesting perspective.”

She added: “He was a great newspaper man and an extraordinary human being.”

Mr Ison retired to Whitstable, Kent, in 2007, but continued to love Ely, where he wanted his ashes scattered.

He is survived by his wife, Cherry, daughters Cate, Anne, Andrea, Rebecca, and Helen (who served as his mayoress), grandsons Jack and David, and rescued greyhound Maeve, who were at his bedside at the Pilgrims Hospice, Ashford, Kent, where died on Saturday.

• The family are holding a private cremation followed by a service to remember his life which is open to all on Tuesday February 14 at 2pm at All Saints Church, Whitstable.

• Donations to Pilgrims Hospice in Ashford where Mr Ison spent his last fortnight. Helen said: “He enjoyed that he could have a fry up in the morning and a G&T at night and very much wanted to be able to help them continue their good work for other families.”