Shocked doesn't even begin to describe how I feel after receiving a phone call this morning to say that John White, a fellow committee member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, has passed away.
John was undoubtedly one of my favourite people in the Guild; an unassuming guy with a prodigious knowledge of German and Belgian beers - as well as British brews - he always had a huge smile and a self-deprecating & funny story for me every time we met.
Whether it was telling me how he fell in a river after trying to gamely jump across stepping stones or shouting out in the middle of a full pub 'I saw you in bed the other morning' (which I should caveat with an explanation - what he meant to say is he saw me on TV early one Saturday morning whilst having a lie-in!).
And whilst we all may have gently taken the rip out of him on a regular basis about his worrying attachment to his GPS, we all rang him when we wanted to know where a decent pub might be - no matter how far flung the location.
He was clearly a very happy man and his devotion to wife, Joyce, was absolutely unquestionable with never a conversation going by without John mentioning her name at least five times with enormous amounts of affection.
But for me, the most admirable part of John's character was how open he was with his amassed knowledge. To John the things he had learnt on his journeys were not to be hoarded like a miser but to be shared with everyone - whether it was via a phone call or by visiting his website http://www.whitebeertravels.co.uk/
I'll miss you John and so will the beer and brewing community.