FOR 30 years John Stedman bred rare sheep with his good friend, Diana Burton, on a smallholding at Higher Brownstone between Morchard Bishop and Black Dog, before they moved to Dawlish in 2018.

John died at home on November 8, aged 84.  A funeral service is to be held at Exeter and Devon Crematorium on Thursday, November 30 at 3.30pm.

John had been involved with Crediton Photography Club and the Heathcoat Centre in Tiverton which he helped set up in 1994.  He was also a Governor at Petroc College in Tiverton and Business Advisor based at Heathcoat’s factory in Tiverton. 

He was on many other committees such as the Senior Council of Devon and Devon Association of Smallholders, which they joined when it began in 1986.  

John was also an Area Accountant working at Meldon Quarry near Okehampton.  When he retired he began his own business as an accountant with many smallholders as clients. 

John started work as a cashier in the TSB bank of his home town of Brighton, then came National Service where he was a Radar Operator in the RAF based in Germany.  

After this he trained as a Management Accountant and started work at Gatwick Airport under Freddie Laker. He and his friend Ray were Founder Members of a Flying Club where he learnt to fly in a Jodel D117.

In 1975 John joined CBS Publishing Europe as Financial Controller and was responsible for implementing a programme of computerisation and the acquisition of Cassell PLC. 

This is where his huge collection of CBS records and cassettes began. They met when Diana joined the company as one of his Assistants after they had relocated to Eastbourne.

The company was taken over in 1987, both were made redundant so decided to “follow the dream” and move to Devon. Before they even bought a smallholding they joined the Devon Association of Smallholders, which had just started up and eventually John became Treasurer and then Chairman until 1994.

Just as all this happened John was headhunted by Exchange Travel in Hastings as Chief Accountant and so began years of him travelling down on Friday night and returning on Sunday lunchtime leaving Diana with 23 ewes, a whole bunch of lambs, two rams and chickens which they had been persuaded to take over when buying the property. 

They went on to breed Coloured Romneys, a rare breed. After 30 years there, they sold up in 2018 and moved to Dawlish.

John was a keen photographer and enjoyed walking on Dartmoor. He attended every Devon Dowsers meeting and Field trip, having joined in 1993, becoming treasurer for a number of years.  He was a good earth energy dowser and will be sorely missed in so many ways.

At John’s funeral the request is family flowers only but donations may be made if desired to Rowcroft Hospice either on the day or online at: .

People are asked to wear casual clothes.