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 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.
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.’
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.