John Sutton CBE

From the Secretary of the Samuel Lee Charity

It is with great sadness that the Charity has to report the death of its Chairman, John Sutton. John took over the role of chairman in 1992, at a time when the Charity was in a very poor financial state. For the charity to survive, John understood that we needed capital and that was his aim throughout his stewardship of the Charity and due to his commitment, the Charity is now in a healthy financial position.

John studied Politics and History at Keele University, where he obtained a degree, an MA and a Dip.Ed. He came to the village in 1973 as a Headmaster, whose first task was to cement the amalgamation of four schools in eight years, as well as preside over a succession of name changes – Corby Grammar, Southwood School and then Queen Elizabeth School, Corby. His interest in education lead him to become the County Convenor of the local branch of the Headmasters Association, later to be called the Secondary Heads Association. (SHA). Ten years later his skill and vigour lead him to achieve the position of SHA National President. When the position of General Secretary became vacant, such was his colleagues’ regard that, despite strong competition, John was chosen by a large selection committee.

John Sutton, as auctioneer, with help from the Revd Parker-Mcgee

John was active on the national scene too. His contribution to the improvements in the pay and conditions of heads, input into the plethora of Acts of Parliament in the 1990s and cultivation of influential organisations such as the CBI and political parties, as well as improving relations with the teacher unions, was greatly appreciated by those who knew him. His service to education in the broadest sense was rewarded with a CBE, and by the SHA, which made him a life member on retirement.

The esteem John was held in by ministers and mandarins led to a number of honorary posts: governor of the armed services college at Welbeck, Trustee of the Teaching Awards Trust, council member of the Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government and the Founding Honorary Treasurer, subsequently Chairman and Hon. Fellow, of the Politics Association.

In Geddington, John’s thinly veiled nom-de-plume of Archimedes, resulted in twenty-two brain-teasing cryptic quizzes, which raised valuable funds for the Samuel Lee Charity. Fund-raising was another of his many skills. For the Samuel Lee Charity in 2008, John initiated the Tercentenary Memorial Lunch, which continues to this day as the successful Memorial Lunch. He wrote and published a comprehensive booklet on the history of the Charity. But the Samuel Lee Charity wasn’t the only recipient of his fund-raising skills; he used them for the Geddington Volunteer Fire Brigade, where he served as the first Commanding Officer after the passing of their Chief, Mathew J Harker, and was an active member of the Kettering Huxloe Rotary.

John Sutton, 9 June 1936 – 3 October 2017

To quote the Samuel Lee Trustees, ‘John was a wonderfully caring and intelligent man who was the lifeblood of the Charity. His life’s work will continue for many more years and he will always be fondly remembered by the Trustees who will continue his dedicated work for the Charity. We owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.’

Pam Hopkins
Secretary of the Samuel Lee Charity

The funeral will take place on Wednesday 18th October, 2.30pm at St Mary Magdalene Church, Geddington. This will be followed by a private family cremation. Family flowers only and donations to the Samuel Lee Charity. There will also be a collection at the service.

6 comments on “John Sutton CBE

  • I wish I had the chance to meet the man that took on a rough estate child and made me think outside the box. Will always remember him taking me under his wing, all be it for a short time. You made a difference.

  • Glenn Mead says:

    Only just learned of the sad death of Mr Sutton. A great influence on my life when, as a pupil at Southwood School, I was going nowhere and would probably have ended on the wrong side of the tracks. John Sutton gave me the belief in myself and my abilities, I have achieved much in my life that I was lead to believe I could do.
    Thank you Mr Sutton for everything. You were an inspiration and the world is a poorer place without you.

  • Michael O'Neill says:

    John Sutton taught me history at Bemrose GS Derby in the early 1969s. He was an inspiring and gifted teacher and fired my enthusiasm by showing a confidence in me that was mostly missing from my other teachers. More than that he was a very human being, an immensely kind individual. We rather lost touch when I went on to university, although he did write me once after he read something I had recently published.

    He invited me to Sunday lunch with his wife Carmen at Geddington and afterwards showed me round the village and proudly relayed the history of the local fire engine, and of course the village’s Eleanor Cross,

    Next to my dear dad he was the most influential individual in my entire life and I remain grateful to him for what he contributed to the life of a then somewhat confused 13 year old from a council estate utterly unsure how to navigate the arcane rules of a traditional and very buttoned up grammar school.

    I am deeply saddened to belatedly learn of his passing. My deepest condolences to his wife and his three sons, of whom he once told me he was immensely proud. People like John |Sutton do not often cross our paths. I am immensely grateful that he crossed mine. God rest his soul.

    Professor Dr Michael O’Neill

    • Thank you so much for your wonderful tribute to John. He was a great influence in many village affairs and he is still sorely missed.

  • Mark simpsin says:

    John was our neighbour and friend of our father… I remember a nice man… with his 3 sons Robert & John I recall. Went on a Spanish holiday to llanes espana with the family. Carmen fondly recalled. If anybody knows Carmen or the boys please remember me too them… I’ve lived in London and now 30 years in Hong Kong since I knew John some 50 years ago. May he rip


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