Old Farnhamians' Association

John McLaughlin

18th March 1935 to 2nd April 2019

Deputy Headmaster of Farnham Grammar School 1972 to 1973,
then Deputy Principal of Farnham College until 1992



The Ceremony to Celebrate John’s life
took place at Aldershot Crematorium on 16th May 2019


The Crematorium was full for this service. Nearly 150 people attended.
This page is reserved as a celebration of a much loved and respected man
to whom hundreds of former students owe a great debt of gratitude.



Service Sheet & Photos



Ceremony at the Crematorium (mp3 file, 33 minutes) – Click here

Tribute by Ian Sargeant at the Wake (mp3 file 8 minutes) – Click here




This tribute was written by Janet Jude,
a friend and former teaching colleague


John McLaughlin, a well loved teacher and resident of Farnham since 1972, died aged 84.

John was an only child and grew up in Moulescombe Brighton. He was a pupil at Brighton Grammar School and won a place at Hertford College Oxford to study history. He was a passionate historian and always said that if politicians had studied history they would certainly make fewer mistakes.

He had always wanted to teach and after gaining his Diploma in Education his first job was in a school in Coventry. From there he went to Oxted County School as Head of History and then in 1972 came to Farnham Grammar School as Deputy Headmaster, becoming Deputy Principal when the merger with Farnham Girls’ Grammar School formed Farnham College. His organisational and personal skills were much in evidence at this time. Three different staffs had to be blended together, the two grammar schools and a large intake of mostly young teachers. The day to day running of the college fell mainly on his shoulders, a task he performed with sensitivity and his renowned dry wit.    

An imposing figure, often seen in his billowing gown in the early days, he was a firm disciplinarian but always with a twinkle in his eye. An old boy, the late comedian Jeremy Hardy wrote some years ago, ‘When I arrived as an eleven year old, Mr McLaughlin, I still find it hard to think of him as John, was a terrifying figure, a towering disciplinarian, not to be trifled with. Over the years though, I began to suspect that he was actually winding us up’. Colleagues remember him as a kind and considerate person, a superb teacher, challenging and supporting his students.

In 1992 ill health forced him to retire from the job he loved. He still remained strongly connected to Farnham College as Chairman of the Farnham Educational Foundation. In this role he was instrumental in negotiating the new lease for the merger of Farnham College with Guildford College, a task which was demanding and difficult. When he stood down as chairman he remained a trustee until his death. He worked on the awards committee which dealt directly with students whose interests were always his first consideration.

Retirement gave John time to follow his many interests. He was an avid traveller and joined a syndicate of race horse owners. He always said he owned one leg of a horse! Wearing his trilby hat he loved parading in the owners’ ring, although luck was not often on his side. A stalwart and passionate supporter of Brighton and Hove Albion he attended matches wherever possible.

His connections with organisations in Farnham and elsewhere were legion. For many years he volunteered with the Samaritans, often giving up time at Christmas to free others.  He was an active member of the Cobbett Society and the U3A for whom he gave talks. He was a skilled bridge player and participated in several groups. As his health declined he was still able to enjoy the productions at The Maltings and all the cultural opportunities that Farnham offers.

John had a very active and fulfilling life. He gave a huge amount to others. He was a man of great humanity and erudition and is missed immensely by all who knew him.

Posted Monday, 27 May, 2019




Additional written tributes can be submitted for display on this page – please contact iansargeant@brocas.co.uk


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