Tributes after death of popular Sunderland locksmith John 'the Lock' Fletcher

A city businessman says he has been overwhelmed by tributes to his late father.

Wednesday, 20th October 2021, 4:55 am

Paul Fletcher’s locksmith dad John was so well-known in the trade he earned the nickname ‘John the Lock’.

He passed away at the weekend, aged 73.

Paul said: “The number of people ringing me up and passing on best wishes makes me realise how well known he was and how much he will be missed.

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John Fowler and John with Paul and Layton

John worked for 20 years in the well-known Blandford Street hardware store Cowper Shaw during the 1970s and 80s, rising to become managing director.

"Dad was proud that nearly all apprentices at the time in Sunderland were sent to him and he set them up with their first set of tools,” said Paul

"Some still using the quality tools to this day.”

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After leaving Cowper Shaw in the late 80s, he set up Fletcher Locksmiths in Station Street, a company that has served customers across Sunderland.

"Aside from working at houses for the general public in every estate in Wearside, my dad put locks on most doors in the civic centre, Empire theatre, Roker Park and the Stadium of Light, The Bridges and Galleries shopping Centre, Durham Cathedral, St Peter’s Church, Sunderland station, police and fire stations, Penshaw Monument, the pier and all of the parks,” said Paul.

“Trying to work out where he hasn’t worked is harder. He even worked and put locks at various time on the Echo office at Pennywell and the Echo shop in Sunderland Town Centre.

“We have worked out that over the years he will have cut well over 100,000 keys until his retirement through ill health a few years ago.”

The family business John started is now into the third generation with Paul and his son Layton taking over the mantle at the current premises in Sea Road, Fulwell.

John’s wife Anne passed away last year but as well as Paul and Layton, he is survived by sons Andrew and Craig and six more grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at Sunderland Crematorium from 12.30pm on November 4, followed by a gathering at Mill View club.

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