John died from a heart failure in early October. He entered QEH as a boarder, the tallest boy in his year who was a 6 footer by age 14. He became probably the finest field athlete the school has ever experienced. At 16 he was the record holder for discus, shot and javelin. I believe 2 of these lasted until the 1990s, and one survived into this century. Bear in mind there were no training aids or facilities in the 1950s! He was also a strong rugby forward for Ramsey in junior House matches and I recall that as a back for Hartnell, I wisely avoided meeting him head on!
He left school at 16 by when he had grown even more and soon became a Bristol police officer. I did not see him again until a couple of years ago,and again in November last year when 10 of the 1952 entrants met for a reunion lunch in Bristol. My younger brother knew him in the police. He has told me John was very popular in the force because he was open and friendly with everyone and had the strength of character to always speak his mind. He was especially well known as an Instructor at Regional and local training centres and retired as a very experienced Inspector.
~ Written by Roger Gould (1952 - 59)
As well as his amazing feats in athletics, John was excellent in the Boarders’ yard football games. He was goalkeeper for the ‘Puppies’, which was the class of ‘52 first form team which proceeded to to have a long and unbeaten record against even the senior yard teams. Distinguished members were Harry Dutton who much later went on to play for a semi professional club in the Midlands, and Keith Cockram who dazzled others with his close footwork and became a respected amateur club player in Bristol. Most of their yard games were played at the far end of the yard between the old shoe house and the Upper. In goal, John was hard to score against.
John’s 3 sons were even taller than him and called their father ‘Tiny.’ One of them played in the USA professional basketball league. When John drove me around Bristol en route to our reunion lunch at the ‘Hole in the Wall’, he was still the same friendly,humerous and considerate person that I had first known in the 1950s and still looked fighting fit.
~ Written by Barry Coombs (1952 - 1959).
OE Nick Beake inspired our pupils at Prize Giving with a speech on his experiences as a journalist and his reflection on how his QEH education influen… More...