Well-known East London estate agent and man of witty letters, John Batting, 79, died in a car crash at midday yesterday.
He is believed to have suffered a heart attack before he crashed into a barrier after going through the traffic lights at the Devereux Avenue junction with Old Transkei Road, said Eastern Cape department of transport spokeswoman, Khuselwa Rantjie.
Batting was well loved by the East London community, especially for his letters to the Daily Dispatch in which he often wrote humorously to an imaginary friend “Archie” who worked deep in the bowels of Buffalo City Metro’s bureaucracy.
Yesterday morning Batting complained about a sore throat when he arrived at NVest Properties, said their executive director, James Davies.
“He came into our offices bright and early in his normal cheery spirits and as usual made everyone laugh,” Davies told the Dispatch.
The East London Batting Bridge that runs over the Nahoon River was named after his late father, Jack Batting.
John Batting attended St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown from a young age and spent most of his early adulthood working in the wool industry and commercial property.
He partnered with Keith Roland at Batting and Roland Properties and three years ago joined his son, Chris, at Batting Properties. Attempts to reach Chris were unsuccessful.
Described as a fit man, Batting was a keen sportsman and played competitive bowls on a regular basis.
He is survived by his wife Helen and his four children. — firstname.lastname@example.org