Tuesday 20th Feb 2024

John Ollerhead – PeA 44-52

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Submitted by David Ollerhead

Born in Stevenage in 1934, amidst the challenges of the Great Depression and the shadows of World War II, John’s early years were shaped by the untimely loss of his father. Raised by his mother, and his many aunts, John’s journey led him to Christ’s Hospital on a bursary, where he forged lasting friendships and embraced the unique culture of the school.

His time at Christ’s Hospital was marked by being a proud cadet and leading the school band, a passion for singing nurtured in the school choir, and memorable anecdotes and rhymes heard and learnt at school that would become the fabric of his character.  He carried the spirit of the school with him throughout his life, always quick with a humorous story alongside a warm cup of “rosy lee” (tea) – a tradition he inherited from his school days.

Commissioned as a young officer into the Royal Regiment of Artillery after attending Sandhurst, John’s military career took him to Korea and Malaya. Notable among his many experiences was his participation in the late Queen’s Coronation parade, with his fellow officer cadets in the Sovereign’s company at Sandhurst. His military postings took the family on adventures, from the jungles of Malaya, to Germany and to the Outer Hebrides, leaving an indelible mark on his children’s lives and fostering a love for adventure and storytelling.

Retiring from the Army, John embraced a new chapter as the bursar at Sandroyd School, with a very active retirement, including volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau and as a guide at Salisbury Cathedral, including doing tours up the famed spire into his eighties.

As a father-in-law and grandfather, John was a pillar of support and a source of endless joy. His stories, kindness, and love for family gatherings will forever be cherished by his children, grandchildren, and all who knew him.

In his twilight years, John faced the challenges of losing his beloved wife and battled with his own anxieties with remarkable courage. His humility, love, and selflessness, shaped in part from his time at Christ’s Hospital, left an enduring legacy, reminding us all of the extraordinary human being he was.

John Ollerhead, a proud Old Blue of Christ’s Hospital, will be remembered for his indomitable spirit, love of life, and the countless lives he touched. His memory will forever live on in the hearts of those who had the privilege of knowing him.

 

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