Remembering JP .

July  14th, 1947 December  9th, 2023
New Forest
Remembering JP .

Adventurer, free-spirit, and maverick right up until the end.

Obituary

JP lived out his final years in the New Forest - a place that was close to his heart where he had formed many strong memories. It was a visit to the New Forest home of one of his Mum's friends that led to her remarriage after the death of JP's father, and the forming of a new family home with JP's step-father and two brothers.
JP also attended boarding school on the edge of the New Forest, and spent many of his teenage years exploring the countryside paths in the forest and across Hampshire (and likely getting up to no good as often as he could). 
When JP turned 18, he returned to Belgium to complete his National Service and retain his connection to his birth father. Never a fan of guns, he spent most of his time behind the bar of the officers' mess, although he always appreciated the practicality and quality of military boots and jackets.
When he came back to the UK, he began to soak up all that the swinging sixties had to offer. He worked as a croupier, rubbing shoulders with all sorts of colourful characters of metropolitan and high society life. 
Charming and handsome, he easily caught the attention of ladies. However, he realised by his mid-twenties that the conventional path of marriage and family life was never going to be the right fit for him. The idea of settling down didn't appeal; he preferred the freedom that the solitary life of a bachelor gave to him.
JP had always been interested in the Eastern philosophy, arts and ideas that fuelled the alternative movements of 1960s and 70s society. Following the hippie trail, JP began to travel extensively, forming a special bond with the Tamil Nadu region of India where he habitually returned year-after-year over several decades.
Eventually JP found a rhythm to his life which he thoroughly enjoyed. He spent his spring and summers in the UK working as a gardener and saving up his wages, and then he would take to India for the Autumn and Winter months and 'work hard at doing nothing'. He kept a very minimal lifestyle, shopping in vintage thrift stores, eating a simple and largely vegetarian diet, and rarely having anything close to a fixed address - sometimes housesitting or being the eccentric house guest of one of his old friends, and sometimes finding unconventional abodes which he made his own (garden sheds made very good homes according to JP!)
Whilst he led a very active and largely healthy life (minus the habitual chocolate, coffee and cigarettes), he always knew that eventually he would need to retire from his travelling and working life. As he approached 70 he began thinking about a more permanent return to the New Forest. Based out of his retirement flat, he found a new rhythm that consisted of watching the sunrise and sunset through his window each day, going on long walks out in the open forest, and returning home to read his books and meditate. 
JP lived in a simple peace that is rare in the modern world. He very much lived and died on his own terms. And the world is just a little less wonderfully mad for his passing.

JP is survived by his younger brother, and niece.
We would love for you to share your stories and memories of JP with us by contributing to the Memory Wall on this website. 

Memory wall

Post your condolences or share your Memories.


January 17, 2024
JP was such a gentle soul, who told wonderful stories and had a philosophers heart. Despite his simple life, he was a complex personality with a rich colourful history. I loved the time I spent with him over the years and seeing the deep love and affection he had for his niece Amy was a joy.

I will miss his eccentricities. I fondly remember the times he would turn up on our doorstep, out of the blue, with nothing but a toothbrush in hand. Or a phone call from India on New Years Eve to say he’d walked 2 hours to find a working phone box and there was a riot or an earthquake (or both) going on around him!

When I first met JP he gifted me a tiny stone Buddha, saying that even though he is often on the other side of the world, it would be a reminder that he was thinking of me. I still have the statue all these years later and I like to think he is still watching over us.

He made our lives richer by being in it and I’m thankful for the times we spent together. Rest in Peace JP, your day is done, enjoy your walk home. Xx
Mel Harding
January 13, 2024
I met JP a few years whilst walking with my Mother in the corridors of the retirement residence Homeford House. My Mother introduced us and JP and I quickly struck up conversation about life in France where I live and where some of his friends also lived.

JP kindly invited my Mother and I over to his flat. During the conversation that afternoon, we soon realised that I had travelled in Tamil Nadu where he had lived in India. So he excitedly told us of his adventures and life there. He then generously offered us both a linen, Indian made scarf, still in the packaging, one for my Mother and one for myself, insisting that we accept them. I was so very touched by this act of kindness. In fact it very much reminded me of the Indian people, who often own very little but who can be so incredibly generous in offering others their possessions.

So then every time I visited the UK and my Mother, I did my best to visit JP in his flat. I loved our conversations about India, life and the universe. He was such a philosophical man and we could have spent hours sitting on his living room floor, cross legged, philosophising about the world and all. He was also truly a very kind, gentle, genuine, spiritual man. Always showing interest in my life, my family and my children.

JP certainly lived each day for today and had minimal possessions very like the Indian culture... always maintaining a serenity and joy for life... I really admired him for this.... not conforming to our materialistic society, no computer, no land line, nor mobile... he even slept on a thin mattress on the floor, just like they do in India.

I feel very grateful to have known JP and to have been able to spend some time with this very inspiring person. I was very saddened to hear of his passing but I think he would have been a good candidate to go directly up to heaven. Bless him. I will certainly miss our chats.

Here are a few random photos of the place JP loved Tamil Nadu, India.


Lesley Marsden

JP's last walk


In keeping with JP's lifelong defying of social norms, we felt it was only proper to skip the 'traditional' funeral and plan a final sending off that feels more in keeping to his character and how we remember him. 

We plan on taking JP's ashes with us on a 'final walk'. We will share stories along the way and scatter his ashes Hansel and Gretel style each place we stop. We hope to incorporate a few locations that were meaningful to JP in Hampshire and the New Forest. 

The exact route and date are yet to be planned, and the event will be a small intimate gathering. If you would like to be informed of the details please contact JP's niece, Amy on 07540472921. 
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