John Hamlet Percival - Orwell/Halls 56-??

Chris Hopkirk (Halls 72-79)
wrote about John in the WHS OB Newsletter of April 1996:

"I was fortunate to have met John and got to know him quite well after school and ultimately sadly went to his funeral in the early 90s. This was such a long time ago now, but I do remember him so well as someone very intelligent, smart, humorous, entrepreneurial, wildly talented with the ability to take on anything. The most amazing thing was that he ran an employment agency in Holborn, and in approx 1979 because of a chance meeting with Tim Hegarty - my class and house mate (Halls) - he ended up being the go-to person for temp jobs for us Woolvo boys in the holidays. Later on in the early 1990s I again caught up with him and was briefly involved in his business once again until he sadly passed away on April 27 1996 from heart disease I believe. A great example of how Woolvo produced great people from difficult backgrounds."

Graham Lassiter (Hansons 51-54) wrote in the OBA Newsletter of May 1996: "On 27 April I lost a friend who had a profound effect on my life. When I started to reform the OBA one of the first people to offer help was John Percival. I did not realise at the time how much help he would give. Without it I doubt if I would have succeeded in my ambition. His unflagging enthusiasm and drive coupled with the provision of office facilities made the task so much easier. I found that the easiest thing to do was let him take charge, not that I could have stopped him. His boundless energy and drive was what I needed and I don't think the OBA would have achieved its aims without him.

Throughout his illness John refused to be an invalid, apart from when he wanted Alan King to push him around in a wheelchair. He lived life the way he wanted, ignoring doctors who told him he would not last six months unless he changed his lifestyle. That was a challenge and not being able to resist a challenge, by sheer bloody-mindedness he stretched six months to three years.

Although he had no religion I would like to think of him in the afterlife organising Scrabble contests and explaining the rules of yet another parlour game he had invented. He never achieved his ambition of becoming the captain of both the national cricket and rugby teams but there were some things that were beyond even him. I suspect that, in the light of recent cricket results, he was waiting for the call. Had it come you can be sure that he would not have let the side down.

John, like many OWs, had a great love for the school and even called his horse Woolverstone Hall. I won't call her a race horse because many of you know that she hasn't quite got to grips with it yet. Had John managed to instill some of his character into her it would be the biggest prize winner since Red Rum. Goodbye John, I'm really going to miss you."

Alan King (Hansons 57/64) added that John did not believe in reincarnation or eternal life and his local vicar was well aware of his atheist views but that did not stop them becoming friends or him from dropping in for tea with Wendy and an ear bashing from John. He and Wendy devised a service, which, though Christian in form, was one that John would have approved of. It included two tracks of John singing his own songs. The Old Boys were represented by Mike Farbrother's wife Maddy, Phil Bennett, Chris Hopkirk, Paul Baker and Alan, who gave a short address about John's time at Woolverstone and his determination to see the school live through the OBA.


Chris Snuggs - Berners/Halls 58-65: "I was a contemporary of John's but didn't know him well personally. From a distance he always seemed to have a smiling, cheerful disposition, and I seem to recall he played the guitar. He did a huge amount on behalf of the Old Boys and wrote a moving tribute to WHS on its close, reproduced below. His passing so young was beyond sad."

Roger Friend - Johnstons 58-63 on taking over editorship of "Janus" from John: "Sadly, John passed away on 27 April, which is a great loss to WHOBA and to many of the OWs that knew him. I hope that by dedicating this edition of "Janus" to John, it does credit to his efforts over the years."