29th Nov, 2020

Tributes paid to distinguished Old Bromsgrovian Geoffrey John who has died aged 84

TRIBUTES have been paid to distinguished Old Bromsgrovian Geoffrey Richard John CBE who has died aged 84.

Mr John joined Bromsgrove School in 1947 from Llanelli Grammar School and was a music scholar, the secretary of the school’s music society and played in the 2nd XV.

He was also a lance corporal in the Combined Cadet Force (CCF).

After leaving Bromsgrove School in 1951 he obtained a first class honours degree in economics at University College, Cardiff.

During his national service he was a pilot officer in the RAF.

Geoffrey also had an illustrious business career, working at Cadbury’s before becoming chief executive of Dalgety-Spillers Foods, Chairman of Allied Bakeries, Dairy Crest, the Meat and Livestock Commission and Food from Britain.

He was committed to education and was a governor of Hereford Cathedral School and pro-chancellor of Aston University from 2003 to 2008 where he received an Honorary D Litt in 2010.

He returned to Bromsgrove School and became a governor between 1965 and 1994.

During that time he was chairman of governors from 1982 to 1991 and president from 1994 to 2010.

Many parents and Old Bromsgrovians recall his brisk but eloquent delivery at many commemorations.

His interest in the school, its progress and well-being remained undiminished to the end.

Geoffrey brought a keen mind and unrivalled business acumen to the governing body, firstly in difficult times and then in a period of great change for independent schools.

He played a leading role in our school’s remarkable growth and success in recent decades.

He crucially supported the expansive vision of several successive headmasters and they greatly valued his listening ear, wise words, encouragement, unwavering loyalty, support and belief.

He also recruited on to the board a number of people whose wide-ranging experience served the school so well.

Geoffrey was a proud Welshman and an avid rugby supporter.

The school described it as a ‘fortunate day’ when the boy from Llanelli joined Bromsgrove School just after the war.

“Despite his exceptionally busy career, his devotion to our school and his impact upon it makes him one of the very significant figures in our history.

“But best of all, he was a gentleman and whether you were a headmaster, teacher or pupil, he always had a kind, encouraging word for everyone. “We shall not see his like again.”

Current headmaster Peter Clague said: “Geoffrey John’s life epitomised the ideals of Bromsgrove School.

“His humility, loyalty and unconditional support of others serve as example to all in the school family and we mourn his loss deeply.

“He was the true servant leader.”

A celebration of Geoffrey’s life will be held at Hereford Cathedral at 2.30pm on September 21.

He is survived by his wife Lyn and his daughters Stella and Judith.

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