Jenkin, John William

Jenkin, John William

A few months ago your editor received a message from John Jenkin “complaining” that his brother Keith  (Fleur 1943 – 50) was receiving more attention than himself in the newsletter! Sadly he died before we could answer this in print. Keith has sent us the following resume of his life. A fair number of OJs were at John’s funeral, where Keith spoke movingly of his brother. Amongst those present was Richard Lewis (Fleur de Lys 1956 – 59), current president of Hove RFC. We extend our sympathy to Keith and his family on their loss. In the words with which Keith finished his eulogy, “John was a good man”.

“John died suddenly on 24th May after a few years’ ill health. He was 78. John came to the College in 1940 from the Brighton Grammar School when the family left Hove after Dunkirk. His father and uncles farmed all the land between the village and the Downs as had the family since 1907. It was reputed that his father had a deal with the bursar for milk and potatoes in lieu of fees. His main sporting interest was rugger and he became a founder member of the Hove RFC of which he was an active supporter for the rest of his life.

After matriculation he went on to Wye Agricultural College in 1945 where he continued with his rugger and took up long distance running. His captaincy of athletics at Wye earned him the chance to carry the Olympic Torch flame into Canterbury in 1948. His father’s death in 1946 had left Washbrooks Farm without a regular tenant and he was able to take up the tenancy on leaving Wye. In 1956 he gave up the tenancy and took over the running of the family dairy business in Brighton when his brother Keith left to go to Nigeria. The business was eventually taken over by Unigate for whom he worked for a while. Eventually he was able to return to his farming roots working for the UNFAO in promoting farming methods in Central Africa. From there to Saudi Arabia to help set up a vast dairy milk production unit. His final overseas job was as Agricultural Adviser to the Sultanate of Muscat. Returning to the UK, his wife’s increasing bad health limited his travelling to short-term consultancies in Chad, Egypt and India.

Working with Bryan Renn (Shield 1943 – 50) he was involved in the development of computerised bidding systems in various agricultural fields. Nothing gave him greater pleasure than visiting his “farm” at Battle, a field of about 10 acres where he had a hut with all mod cons where he and Margaret could relax and paint. He grazed sheep for a local farmer. Despite his increasing infirmity he shot regularly and wrote many articles for the Dairy press. Margaret died in 2003, but he kept up an active social life, and few if any of his friends were even aware of his infirmities, as he rarely, if ever, complained. He was hopeful of regaining his driving licence, although personally I would not have risked driving with him!!”


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