Patrons raise money in memory of much-loved author and newspaper man who died outside Northamptonshire pub

Vaughan Tucker
Vaughan Tucker

Landlords and customers are raising money for a defibrillator in memory of a cherished patron who died suddenly outside their pub.

Vaughan Tucker, a former Chronicle & Echo sub editor, died of a suspected heart attack near the canal-side Barley Mow in Cosgrove.

Landlord Paul Adams was with Vaughan when he passed away and felt strongly that he wanted to do something in his memory.

They have so far raised £800 through a fundraiser featuring head shaves and sponsored leg and chest waxes. Another, featuring a quiz and a live band, is scheduled for September.

The money raised will be used to buy an automatic defibrillator that wil be housed near the pub so members of the public can use it. The remainder will go to the Willen Hospice, where Vaughan volunteered.

Margo Adams said: “It wouldn’t definitely have saved his life, but we just wanted to do something that would help someone else.

“Vaughan was a regular here for years and he was really well-liked and Paul felt strongly we should do something.”

Vaughan, who became an author after he left the Chron, lived on a narrow boat moored at Cosgrove.

His author’s note says he fell in love with boats in his native New Zealand and bought his first yacht, a seven-foot P-class sail trainer, from the proceeds of his paper round when he was aged 10.

When he came to Britain, he said, he “fell in love all over again, this time with narrow boats”.

He has lived on boats for over 20 years, and, as well as three fiction books, wrote How to live on a Canal Boat, a distillation of what he learned about that “dreamy alternative, floating lifestyle”.

Vaughan was a sub-editor at the Chron until about six years ago.

His editor at the time, Mark Edwards, had first met Vaughan while they were working shifts for a weekly national paper - ‘ghost writing’ match reports for the likes of retired stars Tommy Smith and Bobby Moore - and the pair became friends because of the New Zealander’s comparative lack of English football knowledge.

When he came to Northampton, he quickly established himself as a much-loved character in the newsroom.

Mr Edwards said: ​“Vaughan was one of those real characters in the office, a very good operator. He had a very dry sense of humour​, and was always smartly dressed, usually in one of those characteristic waistcoats of his.

“​He was a straight-talking Kiwi, but nevertheless would never hesitate to offer advice to young reporters. He worked the night shift for me, which proved he was someone you could trust to could handle all the workings of the paper single-handedly.

“I’m not at all surprised to hear he was so popular in his local village. He was an engaging man and the sort of person people warm to.”