Tributes paid to Derbyshire community stalwart who has died

John Buckley. Picture kindly submitted by family.
John Buckley. Picture kindly submitted by family.

One of the founding members of the Aquabox charity has died at the age of 84.

John Buckley passed away peacefully at his home on Chesterfield Road, Matlock, on September 14 with his three sons by his side.

Mr Buckley attended Anthony Gell School where he was an accomplished sportsman and captain of the school cricket team. He later went on to play for the Wirksworth Cricket Club first team and was a vice president of the club.

After completing his National Service in Egypt, Mr Buckley started his career with British Rail before joining John Smedley Ltd in 1960. He worked there for 34 years, reaching the position of management services director before he retired in 1994.

An Old Wirksworthian, Mr Buckley was also a dedicated member of the Rotary Club of Wirksworth for more than 55 years since joining in 1963. A past president and Paul Harris Fellow, his contribution to Rotary was also recognised by the president of Rotary International, Great Britain and Ireland with a certificate of appreciation awarded in 2018.

As one of the original team that established Aquabox in Wirksworth in 1992, Mr Buckley devoted much of his time to working in the Aquabox depot and was also engaged in many fundraising and promotional activities for the charity. Since 1992, Aquabox has distributed thousands of boxes to many places around the world, giving people in need access to safe drinking water and other important supplies in times of crisis.

Recently Mr Buckley completed a sponsored ride along the High Peak Trail together with his brother Geoff and he also introduced Aquabox to the Rotary Club of Stratford, Ontario, which adopted it as an official project in 2006. He also supported Tools with a Mission as well as the first Thanks for the Memory café in Wirksworth.

Mr Buckley’s family said he was 'a truly good friend to many in Derbyshire and also around the world'.

"John will be sadly missed by all of his family and friends," they added.

Mr Buckley, a devoted husband to the late June, was father of Jonathan, James and Michael, father-in-law of Nicola, Angela and the late Kerry, grandfather of Joe, Ed, Alfie, Sam, Tom, Stephanie, Ali and Matthew, brother of Geoff and the late Sam and Edward, and brother-in-law of Cynthia.