PUBLISHED 07 November 2022
John Ashurst 22 December 1922 - 13 October 2022
John was born in Wigan, Lancashire and spent much of his childhood in Chorley. He gained a scholarship to Chorley Grammar School at the age of 10 and there met his future wife, Margery. In 1940 he went to the University of Manchester to read Classics. He gained an Ordinary degree after two years and was then called up for army service. He spent most of his army years in South East Asia rising to the rank of Major. In 1947, he returned to Manchester to complete his honours degree, gaining First Class Honours.
John's first teaching post was Stand Grammar School in Manchester where he taught from 1948-1953. Wanting to broaden his experience, he moved to Arnold School in Blackpool where he stayed until 1958. John knew of the school as his university friend, Fred Liston, taught Mathematics at the School. John very much enjoyed his time at Arnold and often talked to the family about the Headmaster at the time, Mr Holgate, and of weekends in North Wales with the Officer Training Corps. His other great friend on the staff was John Suffolk whom he maintained contact with after leaving Arnold.
John was encouraged to apply for Headships and gained his first post as Headmaster in Hampshire at Eggars' Grammar School, Alton. There he stayed until March 1963 when he was appointed Headmaster of Peter Symonds a larger and prestigious grammar school in Winchester.
When the decision was taken to turn Peter Symonds into a sixth form college, John felt that a College Principal was not the right job for him so applied for headships elsewhere. He was appointed to be Headmaster at Hymers College, an HMC school in Hull, East Yorkshire where he stayed until his retirement in 1983.
John's period of retirement (39 and a half years) was longer than his teaching career. He and Margery settled well into retirement in Beverley, near Hull. They enjoyed annual touring holidays in Europe and got involved in a number of voluntary organisations in Beverley. For a number of years, John was Chairman of Trustees for the Beverley Minster Old Fund which ensured that the historic Minster was maintained effectively.
John managed to live independently well into his hundredth year proudly cooking a roast dinner for himself each week and a pudding every day. He fell ill in March and moved to a home in Leatherhead in July to be nearer family. He died peacefully on 13 October with family by his side. The family have been heartened by messages of condolence and tributes from former pupils who knew him.