Abstract John Widdicombe has made substantial contributions to respiratory physiology and to the field of cough particularly. He was one of the first to characterise Aδ-myelinated fibres in the airways that could mediate cough and increased breathing. Later on, he initiated the series of international London Cough Symposia that gathered researchers and clinicians on a two-yearly basis to discuss recent results and concepts regarding cough. John Widdicombe was interested in all aspects of cough from the definition to potential new antitussives. This article will focus on his contributions and on his generous personality through reminiscences from three friends.