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Book of Condolence

Please use the space to below to share memories of John and messages of condolence. Your entries will be collated, published on this page (see options below), and will eventually be printed and gifted to John's family.

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John was a wonderful colleague. In his role to oversee H&S matters in the department, we worked closely with him and at every opportunity he strove to make our working life better and easy. He always offered sound advice and sensible solutions. He understood how we worked and did everything in his capacity to enable us to work in our labs without hindrance. We could not have asked for a better colleague in this role. His ever smiling presence, and positive, bright outlook on all matters in the face of his illness is truly admirable. We will all miss him terribly. From Geetha Balakrishnan

I have first met John in his role of Health and Safety Officer in the Physics department, however not soon after, I got the opportunity to know John the person. John was a passionate Chemist, a friendly and positive person, a funny character and a great human being. I feel lucky to have met John and to have shared not only insightful, but also pleasant and humorous discussions, and I am certain that the majority of people that met John have now lost a wonderful friend and colleague. John, you were one of my favourite people at Warwick, and I will forever miss your friendship, kindness and sense of humour. You were an amazing person. From Monica Ciomaga Hatnean

From the very beginning John 'got it' in terms of understanding what our researchers and students were trying to do, and in turn how he could best support us. We and he saw him as fully embedded in Physics, supporting all our H&S from the risk assessments through to the explosive christmas lectures. John would often tell me how much he loved his job and how much pleasure he got from working in Physics. He was well-liked and had a remarkable knack for finding common ground with everyone he met (family, cricket, cycling, walking, cooking all high on the list!). His positive outlook meant he always looked for a solution and pushed those around him do the same. As one example, he was absolutely instrumental in getting our labs and offices re-opened in summer 2020 with his typical pragmatism, straight-talking and many many video calls. John was so honest and open about the ups and downs of his illness it helped those of us around feel we were doing some small part to support him through it. He will be very much missed. From Katherine Branch

John was remarkable. He listened, understood and supported me and my work. In outreach, a lot of things I do are unconventional, using unconventional equipment, often in cheeky or dramatic ways. I tend to be a thorn in the side of Health and Safety Officers! But not John. Rather than toning down the drama, John understood 100% what I was trying to create and would suggest things I could do that achieved the aims of both his job, and mine. He made liquid nitrogen ice cream with me, even accompanying me to a school to give a talk so that he could check what I said, and how I did it. Of course he also insisted he had a taste as it was important to document the whole process! When we first trialled ping pong balls in a dustbin, we accidentally exploded the bin, with large chunks landing in what was to be the 5th row of the audience! I thought he'd be cross and stop the experiment altogether, but instead he talked about how glad he was to be there and to help make it safe. Extensive research was done to understand why, and a safe and dramatic demonstration was the result. He even sat at the centre of the front row when it was finally done in front of an audience, so confident was he that it was now completely safe. John was very open about his faith and shared confidently the hope he had in his Heavenly Father and the plan there was for his life. In illness there was no wavering, but an example of a joy inside of him that wasn't based on earthly events. He lit up the physics department and he will be missed very much. From Ally Caldecote

Despite rarely working with John, he made a huge impression on me, from doing his upmost to welcome me to the department, showing genuine interest in a project chess set I created (getting me to show pictures to multiple guests over the years) to asking me to "maybe light those explosions further away from Alan's face" and offering me lifts in poor weather. He truly went above and beyond for everyone he met. We shared a mutual friend which always gave us a reason to chat which would inevitably end with him checking in on how I'm doing in the department and querying any life updates. Always caring and always fun. That's how I will remember John. From Ryan Williams.

As a fellow cyclist, I used to bump into John in the entrance to MAS most mornings and he always had time to stop and chat about cycling, bad weather and ski holidays. He was an incredibly kind and positive individual - he will be missed so much. From Kathryn Murray.

John’s positive, optimistic and helpful engaging outlook is much missed. I remember when John started at Warwick discussing with him his previous employment at Courtaulds in Coventry. This linked to my experiences in the 1990s as a Summer research project undergraduate student as well as Courtaulds being the industry sponsor for my DPhil. With regards to health and safety matters, John engaged in a pragmatic, constructive and understanding way that built trust with the experimental research community. My final interaction with John was his prompt and as ever highly efficient help in April this year on a safety document to enable the high-field solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance facility to purchase new magic-angle-spinning technology. His untimely passing leaves a big hole in the Department. From Steven Brown.

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I am sure John left an impression on most people he interacted with, he certainly left one with me. John was kind, hard working, honest and friendly. In the short time I knew John he never failed to leave you smiling and thinking about something positive. I'm grateful for that, John. From Matt Broome 

John came to Physics from the University Health and Safety Office to advise and sort out our compliance issues. He easily completed this task by winning the trust and appreciation of all the staff with his pragmatic approach and inextinguishable sense of humour - but in the process he went native! John enthusiastically joined in a whole range of departmental activities, especially those involving fun and (safe) explosions in the outreach programs. We will never know who enjoyed these the most - the audience, the presenters, or John. Despite all of his medical troubles, John always displayed an extremely positive outlook on life and was a joy to be around. Our great loss is surely heaven's gain. From David Leadley

Although I never worked closely with John, he was one of those people that just adds something intangible to the community: always professional, friendly and helpful. His ability to keep a positive outlook in spite of everything was remarkable, and a lesson to us all. He will be missed. From Tim Gershon

John was so supportive of the Christmas lecture we did (Naughty or Nice Chemistry) and was a genuine pleasure to work with. I think I saw him most mornings in MAS and we always said hello and had a nice chat. He always had time to chat and make you feel welcome and part of the community. Thinking just of the Christmas lectures, his legacy is immense - sometimes I think he enjoyed blowing up ping pong balls more than the kids! From Alex Baker

I met John properly when I moved to MAS from the main Chemistry building a few years back. We had several enlightening, useful and entertaining conversations on level 4, mostly about safety, plumbing and bikes. I immediately took to him and regularly put lab design things past him - he was very keen on integrating thinking and spreading good practice. He was an enabler, which is really saying something in his line of work. I was touched when he asked me if I minded him putting up a portrait of Faraday opposite my door! "Well, he was a part-time chemist after all," he said. A lovely guy. From Pete Scott

John was a true gentleman, full of knowledge and always had a really positive outlook on life. He was a big part of the Dept and shared many a story about his family and church involvement. I will miss the stories he used to share. We shared a joint love of cooking and holidaying in Cornwall. He will be massively missed to me personally as he definetely left his mark. He sat next to my husband and son at the Christmas lectures and whenever I would share one of Johns stories my husband would say thats the guy I sat next to at the Christmas lecture. Johns spreadsheet of meals organsied by recipe book always helps me with my meal planning. Taken from us, far too young. From Sarah Parkin

I worked with John on Health and Safety in Chemistry and MAS Building over the last few years. He was deeply knowledgable, a positive thinker and always willing to help find solutions: someone for whom I had real admiration. Getting a few glimpses of each other’s life outside work is important in building trust and realising that as cyclists on Campus we shared areas and interests in common certainly helped me develop a sense of purpose in what we did. I’m grateful to have known John. From Andrew Marsh.

I was immensely privileged to have shared an office with John for a little while, and quickly discovered that we had so many shared values... we did spend a lot of time talking and putting the world to rights! During this time I was able to see much more of John, the Christian, the Family Man, the Health and Safety Professional, Colleague and Friend. I can honestly say that I never saw him get cross or annoyed even behind closed doors and I never heard John say a bad word of anyone. He demonstrated true kindness and consideration in all of his dealings with others. He listened, found common interests and beliefs with people, and as a result I think everyone felt a very genuine connection with John. Of course, this means that his loss is felt so much more by all who knew him. I have lost one of the most entertaining and informed people to chat with about life. I miss him very much. From Maxine Little.