John Wigham CMLI died on 25 May.
Former colleague Robyn Butcher writes: John trained at art college after leaving school and later trained as a Landscape Architect at Leeds College of Art, prior to the course being set up at Leeds Polytechnic.
From 1979 to 1982 he was employed as a senior landscape architect for Gillespies in Glasgow, working on inner city renewal schemes, moving on to the position of landscape architect and group leader for Portsmouth City Council in the architect’s department.
John left the council in 1985 to set up The Terra Firma Consultancy based in Portsmouth initially, moving later to Petersfield. The company, whilst not without ups and downs in the late 1980s, worked on many south coast projects, particularly in the defence, leisure and housing sectors, including award-winning Hampshire Corporate Park and Chichester Marina. Further afield, John was involved with residential projects on Cape Cod and in Massachussetts. In 1996 John was joined in partnership by Lionel Fanshawe, who later took over the business when John left to pursue other property development ventures on the south coast.
In 2006 John returned briefly to help Lionel to set up a sister practice called Alshamsi Terra Firma in Dubai. He left ASTF in 2007 to join Cracknell as Design Director for three years and was instrumental in setting up their Abu Dhabi office, working on the Yas Island project, now home to the UAE’s Formula One racing circuit, and the new Abu Dhabi airport.
John had many interests and talents: windsurfing, voiceovers, photography and performing in many different bands as bass player and vocalist. As Paul Cracknell writes ‘It didn’t take long for John’s infectious sense of humour and enthusiasm for just about everything to rub off on everyone here…’
Sadly John was diagnosed with cancer and passed away on the 25th May 2013. He will be sadly missed by all colleagues, both recent and past.