Good-hearted Winton

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I HAVE fond memories of Winton Cooper, who was killed this week.

As a councillor, I had known him distantly, for some years but in his last months in Sheffield, early to mid-2000s, our paths crossed several times a week in Crookes and I grew to know him well. He was a good-hearted soul.

His marital breakup had changed his life profoundly. He wanted someone to listen and I was happy to oblige.

Winton moved out of the marital home in the Stannington area and moved into a flat above the carpet shop in the middle of Crookes.

Although he quickly became part of the Crookes landscape, he was probably resident for less than a year.

At this time, he was not working and saw himself pretty much a full-time single parent. He kept his journalist’s hand in, producing a small and occasional free-sheet called the Crookes Courier, a mix of stories, banter and humour. It was well liked in Crookes, as was Wincanton, as wags dubbed him.

Winton told me of his growing difficulty dealing with his ‘situation’. Although he put a brave face on it, it was clearly a challenging period. He saw himself, to his enormous credit, as the emotional mainstay for his three young sons.

He also told me that his elderly ailing father retired to Dorset and he took his sons to join him eight or so years ago. Our last conversation saw him optimistic. He saw the move as a new beginning. I never once witnessed the slightest trace of self-pity in Winton as he faced considerable difficulties.

I wished him well as he left Crookes. My wishes were heartfelt and sincere. I knew, as did Winton deep down, that the ‘new beginning’ in Dorset would not be problem-free. But neither of us knew how tragically it would end.

Coun John Hesketh