Family mourn caring Amber Valley talking news chairman

Talking newspaper volunteer Michael Johnson, who has died at the age of 67 after a lifetime of helping others.
Talking newspaper volunteer Michael Johnson, who has died at the age of 67 after a lifetime of helping others.
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A kind-hearted Ripley man who helped run a talking newspaper service for visually impaired people across Amber Valley has died.

Michael Johnson, who served the talking newspaper volunteer group as chairman for the last two years, died on Sunday, June 18, at the age of 67.

Born in Ripley, Michael grew up as on of six brothers and sisters.

His daughter Holly Johnson said: “Dad’s family didn’t have a lot of money, but he worked exceptionally hard to get into nursing school.

“He was trained as a general nurse and a psychiatric specialist, and he earned top grades and commendations all the way through.”

After qualifying, he went on to work at Pastures Hospital in Mickleover, and then the high security Rampton Hospital near Retford.

Holly said: “Throughout his career, he worked with severely ill people. He was just a caring man, that was at the root of everything he did.”

His generosity also stretched to volunteering with the Derby Mountain Rescue team, both as a fundraiser and as an emergency responder.

After retiring 14 years ago, Michael moved back to Ripley and delved into his passion for local history.

That led him to connect with Ellis Redfern, who ran the talking newspaper for many years.

Holly said: “Ellis had written a book about the area, and dad wanted to meet him. They soon became firm friends.

“As Ellis and his wife got older, dad helped them out with errands, and when Ellis died he took over the newspaper work.”

Michael is survived by Holly and her brother Andrew. The funeral will be at Markeaton Crematorium on Thursday, July 6, at 1.20pm.

Memorial donations can be sent to the Mountain Rescue Team via www.derbymrt.org.uk.