TRIBUTES have been paid to a former senior school master and ‘outstanding’ teacher.
John West, a former senior school master and head of mathematics at Colfox from 1960-1985, died peacefully on
August 14, aged 89.
Born in south east London in1930, John’s family moved to Yeovil where his father was employed at Westlands during the Second World War. Thereafter, John spent much of his life in Bridport and the surrounding area.
He attended Bridport Grammar School between 1942 – 1948 and went on to study physics and pure mathematics at Exeter University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1952.
Married to Mary in 1953, with whom he had seven children, he moved to Essex where he taught mathematics at Palmer’s School, Grays, for seven years before returning to Bridport to become head of mathematics at the then recently-opened Colfox School in 1960.
Throughout his 25-year career at Colfox, John established a reputation as an outstanding teacher with a commitment to the traditional values of teaching and learning.
His passion for excellence helped many of his former pupils go on to study at leading universities, including Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics and Bristol University.
Outside of his teaching, John was a devoted family man with seven children, all of whom he taught at Colfox, and six grandchildren. He was a passionate photographer, gardener and lover of music. For more than 20 years, he took on the role of stage manager for Colfox’s school plays, captained the staff cricket team and regularly won the student/staff debating competition. He was also an active Rotarian in Bridport, Langport and Sherborne.
He married Jean Milton in 1987 and retired to live in Sherborne in 1993. He was elected President of the Sherborne Rotary Club in 1996.
More than 30 years after retiring from Colfox, John is still widely remembered in Bridport and Sherborne. His son Richard says it is ‘always with love, respect and appreciation and, for some of his former pupils, perhaps a degree of trepidation.’
According to his family, John was a beloved husband, survived by Jean and predeceased by Mary, a dearly-loved father of Sarah, Maggie, Elizabeth, Richard, Josephine, Paul and Lydia and grandfather to Saskia, Heather, Ben, Daisy, Tessa and William. The son of Jack and Ellen, he is survived by sisters Jean and Pat.