John King

Published 22 February 2024

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of John King, a long serving teacher at St Bart’s who gave 48 years of devoted service to the school without a single day of absence.

He had been in Newbury as a small boy, since his father had been a curate of St John’s during World War II. After completing his degree at Manchester, in a sense, he ‘came home’.

A brilliant and intuitive teacher of History and Politics, John was able to transfer his great love of his subject to countless generations of students in such a way that they in turn shared his passion as they benefitted enormously from his unique style of teaching.

One former student commented, “He always held the attention of our sometimes overenthusiastic A Level History class, without ever raising his voice. He was such a kind man, a perfect Head of House for Patterson.”

Staff member and long-time friend, Howard Paynter, said, “It was as a parent I first met John 30 years ago. Our friendship flourished as time passed, particularly as I admired Arsene Wenger. John was a truly marvellous man, who never spoke ill of anybody. He must have touched the lives of many generations of pupils. ‘Requiescat in pace’.”

He gave his life to the school in so many other ways as well; through the RAF section of the CCF where he spent countless hours training and organising groups on Dartmoor in preparation for walking the challenging Ten Tors event, which he instigated at the school and similarly for the annual Adventurous Training; training and coaching sports teams in rugby, football and cricket, whilst at all times giving selflessly of his time and unbounded enthusiasm.

Upon his retirement in 2012, John was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community. At the time Deputy Head Teacher, Maureen Sims, said: “We’re all absolutely delighted for him. John is a very special person to us and has been to the students over the years.”

John King is an icon of St Bart’s in every facet of his teaching career and is a genuine legend in the school’s illustrious history. He will be sorely missed by all who were privileged to know him and those students lucky enough to experience his memorable teaching and knowledge.

We are grateful for the contributions to this tribute from former colleagues and friends including Mike Hart, John Harris and Derek Carruthers.