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Tributes to journalist who doubled as film extra

Tributes have been paid to a popular former journalist who became an extra in a hit British film.

John Nash, who has died aged 73, worked as a district reporter for the Mid Devon Gazette in the 1990s having entered journalism in his 50s.

He remained with the paper as its Dulverton reporter joining the Wellington Weekly News in 2000, continuing to write his weekly ‘Nash’s Notes’ column long after he had officially retired.

His brush with fame came in 1998 when he appeared in scenes in the British wartime drama The Land Girls starring Rachel Wesiz, Anna Friel and Catherine McCormack, which was filmed on location in and around the Exmoor town of Dulverton.

John, pictured above, died at Linden House Care Home in Wellington on Saturday 14 June having been ill since last autumn.

Julia Netherton, who worked with John in his time on the Gazette, said: “John was a well-liked and respected colleague at the Mid Devon Gazette and often brought hilarity to the office with his witty comments and cheeky manner.

“Not only was he a great help to me as a junior reporter offering advice and help when needed but he was also a great support and would rally to my aid if he felt it was required.”

“He was not only a great co-worker but also a good friend and we would often enjoy a trip to the cinema to see the latest art house film or blockbuster and chat about our favourite bits on the drive home to Dulverton where he lived at the time and which was also his ‘reporting patch’.”

John moved into journalism having worked in the finance departments of a number of Somerset businesses during the early part of his life.

His Nash’s Notes column was a staple of the Wellington Weekly News for 13 years and continued until he was forced to give up due to illness last November.

Outside of work he was also an enthusiastic jazz and big band music lover, and travelled to London in his younger days to hear the likes of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald.

His friend Geoff Cross recalled an occasion eight years ago when John obtained an interview with the late Humphery Lyttleton when he was performing at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton.

“Within a couple of minutes, John and Humphrey were away, talking about long-forgotten gigs and players as if they were old friends,” recalled Geoff.

John leaves a daughter Lara and a sister Mary Rowsell.   His funeral will take place tomorrow at Taunton Deane Crematorium at 12.30pm followed by a service of thanksgiving at St John the Baptist Church in Wellington at 1.30pm.

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