Tributes Paid To Jim Johnson

st marys from above 2Islanders have been paying tribute to one of St Mary’s best-loved characters.

Jim Johnson senior died this week. He was 83.

Jim fell in love with the islands when he travelled over from St Ives. He continued visiting Sandybanks on holiday with his family and made a permanent move to Scilly from London when his daughter Lesley married Brian Thomas.

Speaking to Radio Scilly last year, Jim said that he had no plans to continue his mainland career as a taxi driver full-time when he came here, although he did bring his London cab with him.

But after locals asked him he started a service, which grew into a four-minibus operation over a 14-year period.

More recently Jim had concentrated on tour parties. He said that he loved seeing the islands through visitors’ eyes and loved the history of Scilly and the landscape. He claimed to be able to name nearly every type of flower.

And his favourite view was the one from the bottom of McFarland’s Down.

Jim was an active Rotarian and said that the August Bank Holiday fun day was one of his annual highlights.

Many visitors will know him from his panto and Theatre Club play performances. Jim claimed that Maggie Perkovic talked him into starring in his first pantomime. He had a gift for accents, particularly American, and admitted that came from studying the dialects of people whom he carried in his cab.

Jim loved a joke and particularly enjoyed it when productions didn’t go quite to plan. He recounted the time when a play required a live goat on the Town Hall stage, which then did its business on the stage.

But Jim’s great passion was for his family. He said he would never stand for a fight in the family and arguments did not last. His joy was his ten great-grandchildren and nine grandchildren, and he loved it when everyone was together.

One Christmas, he recalled 28 people were around the table at his beloved Sandybanks home.

Jim’s funeral will be on the 13th in the early afternoon, so people can come over from the mainland to attend at Old Town Church.

There’ll be a tribute to Jim from some Theatre Club members on Radio Scilly after 11am today with Steve Sims.

And we’re broadcasting an interview with Jim, recorded last year, on Sunday morning at 8am.


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