Tributes to former mayor and beloved florist

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A “leading figure in Aberystwyth’s life” has sadly passed away after being diagnosed with cancer less than six months ago.

John James, 72, died on Saturday December 18 after being diagnosed with cancer.

John, who was a former city councilor and mayor of Aberystwyth, and his partner, David Christopher Birchall, had recently retired and closed their flower shop in Aberystwyth, Black Orchid and David John’s Florist Studio, due to poor health by John.

John’s funeral will be on December 30.

David said: “John will be sadly missed, his passing leaves a great void in my life.

“John got sick so we gave notice and everything. He didn’t expect to go this fast, but his health was deteriorating. He had blood transfusions every week, he had three courses of chemotherapy but he refused the fourth because it made him sick.

“He continued to work every day as he was undergoing cancer treatment, doing flowers and doing funeral work.

“He was still working in the shop until a fortnight before his death, he was really passionate about his flowers. He has organized several flower festivals in the city and has raised funds for charities over the past five years. “

John and David have been together for about 18 years and moved to Tywyn, opening a restaurant and guesthouse about 15 years ago after John retired from city council.

About five or six years ago the couple moved to Ponterwyd and opened a cafe, Sosban Fach, on Chapel Street, Aberystwyth. After this adventure, they moved to Capel Bangor and took the Tafarn Y Maes.

While the Black Orchid flower shop was opened by John about 25 years ago, David John Florist opened in 2019 as a joint venture between John and David.

The couple also lived and owned a cafe in Tregaron, which was recently sold for a future move to Llanilar, where John sadly died in their home with David.

Senedd for Ceredigion member Elin Jones said she “knew him well during his tenure as adviser to Plaid Cymru”.

She added: “John James has been a leading figure in Aberystwyth life for many years, both as a leading businessman and as a local advisor. He has always been a strong supporter of Aberystwyth.

“He was immensely proud to have been elected Mayor of Aberystwyth and he assumed this role with dignity and pride. He served his community well.

“He was one of the characters in the city and loved to laugh and make others laugh. He will be sadly missed by his loved ones and many others.

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