From the Pagan Dawn website:
We have all been shocked and saddened this evening to hear of the sudden death of John Belham-Payne, who passed away this morning.
A statement from Ashley Mortimer to the Centre of Pagan Studies Facebook group read thus:
We are completely devastated to have to announce the sad news that John passed away this morning. He leaves his wife, Julie, son, Danny and sister Glynis and family. John also leaves the dedicated teams of friends and volunteers at both The Centre for Pagan Studies and The Doreen Valiente Foundation, a vast circle of brothers and sisters within the craft and a wide but devoted circle of friends from all walks of life around the world.
John himself will be particularly upset as he was dearly looking forward to seeing his years of hard work and dedication come to fruition this summer with the Doreen Valiente Collections going on exhibition in Brighton, as well as the series of talks he was due to give, starting in London this Sunday.
We have all heard his voice this morning telling us to ‘just get on with it’, to carry on with the things he considered important and to which he was so singularly dedicated. Yes, we will carry on, but right now it’s a time for us to share our grief and to remember ‘our’ John.
It was sometimes easy for John’s huge presence to obscure his very real humility. Despite his position as an elder in the craft and having inherited arguably the most important magical collection in modern history, John’s only desire was to follow his promise to Doreen Valiente to do ‘the right thing’, to this end, he donated the entire collection to The Doreen Valiente Foundation and both he and Julie have served as its trustees along with Ashley Mortimer, Rufus Harrington and Professor Ronald Hutton.
John’s sense of humour, wealth of stories and his amiable personality will be deeply missed by all who loved and knew him, along with his kindness and willingness to help anyone he could on their own spiritual journey regardless of which path they followed. He was very, very much beloved of very many and his passing will leave a very real hole in all of our lives.
In due course we will be able to share further news, memorial plans and so on but for now we simply wish to pass on our love and thanks to everyone for their support and friendship as we push forward together to “do the right thing’ and join together in remembering ‘our’ John.
Read full article at Pagan Dawn.
Here is a prayer we use in OBOD, for John:
May your journey to the Isles of the Blessed, to the fields of Bliss, to the land of freedom and splendour, be swift and sure.
May the Light be your guide on the journey.
May the blessings of the Spirits of the Tribe and of the Ancestors, of Time and of Place
and of the Journey be with you.
May the blessing of the Spirits of North and South, East and West be with you.
May the blessing of the Lord and Lady of the Animals and the Woods,
the mountains and the streams be with you.
May the blessings of the Old Gods be always with you.
By the beauty of the fields, the woods and the sea,
by the splendour that is set upon all that is,
we send you our love and blessings.