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NEWS > In Memoriam > John Jones 1940 - 2024

John Jones 1940 - 2024

We were sad to learn that John Jones, PE & Maths teacher at CGS from 1962 - 1969, passed away in April aged 83. CGS Alumnus Neil Hyde shares fond memories of this gentle Welshman.
29 May 2024
Written by Neil Hyde
In Memoriam
John Jones, back row furthest right
John Jones, back row furthest right

John Clive Jones was born on the 28th April 1940 in the village of Ystrad Mynach, in the Rhymney Valley. He was quite athletic from an early age and his sporting prowess came to the fore when sprinting for Wales in the 1958 Empire Games and playing rugby at Newbridge RFC. His PE teacher, at the local Grammar School, encouraged him to follow his own career and he went to St. Luke’s College, Exeter to train as a PE and Maths specialist.

I first encountered John in September 1962. He was a newly qualified teacher starting his first appointment at Cheltenham Grammar School. I was one of the new intake, a shy 11 year old, attending the imposing old buildings in the High Street. JC, as he was known to many of the pupils, taught me PE and Maths in my first year and I quickly developed a rapport with him. He was a caring, considerate teacher, a gentle man and a true gentleman. He was a refreshing contrast to some of the elder statesmen at the School who practised Victorian teaching methods.

He introduced me to Rugby and when we moved to the new building in Hester’s Way he would regularly take me and a friend home to Bishop’s Cleeve in his old green van following after-school training sessions. He then went off to his own training at Cheltenham RFC. He went out of his way to take us home because he knew we had lengthy bus journeys and we appreciated his thoughtfulness.

In 1969, we both left Cheltenham Grammar School. I followed in his footsteps, with his encouragement, and went to St. Luke’s College, Exeter to train as a PE and Maths teacher. At the same time, he went to Leeds for further study before he took up a position at a huge Comprehensive school in Sheerness, Kent. Later, he tried to persuade me to join the Staff at his new school but for personal reasons I declined the offer.

We kept in contact periodically throughout our teaching careers and when we were both diagnosed with cancer later in life and, having come through significant surgery, we communicated more regularly. I visited him in Kent and he came to Cheltenham. More recently, I saw him in Cheltenham in October 2023 and in Spain in January of this year. He liked to get some winter warmth in his retirement and he was looking so fit and well. As usual, we chin-wagged about old times at Cheltenham Grammar School. His memory of the Staff and pupils was so good. He always said that this was the best part of his teaching career. That said, he never moved on from Sheerness, rising to the position of Deputy Head before taking early retirement after a lengthy spell there.

In late March 2024, he contacted me to let me know some devastating news. His consultant had informed him that his cancers had returned and he was given a life expectancy of 3 months. A week later we had a zoom call when he told me it was back with a vengeance and he was calling to say goodbye - a heart-wrenching experience. I called him about a week or so later to see how he was, only to be told that he had passed away the night before with his family at his side. I am so pleased that I was able to attend his funeral and to say goodbye to John. A good friend and a lovely man. The world would be a much better place with more of his kind.

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