John Cockett

John Cockett 1935 – 2008

St. Margaret’s Church in Hawes was packed on July 20th with friends and family for a service to celebrate the life of a well-loved dalesman, John Cockett.

Born in Hawes, John continued the family bakery and butchers shop, started in 1854 by his great-grandfather, but was probably equally well-known for his Hawes Amateur Operatic Society productions which played to full houses for more than thirty years.

John was a pupil at Yorebridge Grammar School, where he took leading roles in school plays. When he was fourteen he joined Hawes Drama Club, before going off to do his National Service in the RAF.

From 1955, John’s path in life could have taken him in several directions. He could have trained as a teacher, having gained a place at college. An application for RADA was filled in but never sent. Instead, he stayed at home and helped run the family business, making it the success it is to this day.

His career with HAOS (in a new window) spanned almost four decades as producer/director and very often as actor. He set high standards, for himself just as much as for everyone else, finally giving up juvenile leads’ at the age of forty-eight recognising, after a lifetime in the butchery trade, that one cannot sell mutton dressed as lamb!

Some of the shows enjoyed by audiences from up and down the Dale, as well as farther afield.

  • No, No Nanette
  • Blitz, Merry Widow
  • Fiddler On The Roof
  • Me and My Girl
  • White Horse Inn
  • The Quaker Girl
  • The Desert Song
  • Annie Get Your Gun
  • Viva Mexico
  • The Boyfriend
  • Salad Days
  • Brigadoon

John also played in several shows with Richmond Operatic Society, where he met his wife, Sheila. They were married in 1969. John and Sheila have three children, Louise, David and Daniel, all of whom have performed on stage, together with Kathleen, John’s sister.

John also served the local community as a Market House Trustee and as a Market Tolls Trustee. A family man, John was very proud of his children and grandchildren, Adam and Dylan.

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The Dales