A tribute to former Head Boy, John Brown

Posted: 4th November 2016

The whole Bredon School community has been deeply saddened by John’s passing in September at the age of eighteen, following a courageous battle with cancer.

Despite being poorly and still receiving treatment, John delivered his Head Boy’s speech at Founder’s Day on July 7th 2016 and in doing so, realised his almost life-long ambition to be Bredon’s Head Boy.

His speech was humorous and delivered with confidence and maturity beyond his years. At times it was emotional but above all, it was inspiring. John’s 10 minutes in the spotlight on that day will stay with us all forever. Please take the time to view it on: https://youtu.be/FntfPuzyac4

What came across so strongly during his speech was how much he loved his parents, his School, his friends and the teachers who had supported him throughout the years.

John joined Bredon eleven years ago as a Year 3 pupil. By his own admission, at the time, he couldn’t read or write and he certainly did not have the confidence to speak in front of people.

However, throughout the intervening years, John grew in confidence, academic ability and stature and was often highly praised in consecutive Parents Evening meetings for his friendly and polite manner and for his obvious enthusiasm for everything at school.

Well… almost everything! John was not a big sports player or fan, but this did not stop him from participating in a staggering 11 events at sports day one year when most other students from his House, Thomas House, were absent through illness. For this feat – demonstrating his tenacity and team player qualities – John was awarded the Talbot Trophy for Endeavour at that year’s Founders Day.

He excelled in the adventure training opportunities provided by Bredon and just months before he became ill, he completed his Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award; a feat achieved by only 250,000 other students since the scheme started over 60 years ago. A DofE Cup has been donated in his memory to be awarded on Founders Day.

His proudest moment was being named Head Boy in 2015, with a close second being the A* he achieved in his Year 11 English Speaking exam.

Outside of school, John was part of the Kings Camp Foundation – a charitable organisation that offers childcare and sports and activity camps for children from 4 years old – and in 2014, he was named as one of the top 3 performing ‘rookies’. Rookies shadow the centre manager, assist in sessions, deliver games and lead chants and games with the rest of the camp.

Bredon’s Matron, Mrs Roberts says, “My earliest memory of John is of him as a little boy who used to run up to me and give me a cuddle. I remember his Mum saying that if John liked you, you had a friend for life and that’s certainly how he made me feel.

“Watching him deliver his speech on Founder’s Day as Head Boy made me so proud; he’d come such a long way from those early days at Bredon and being Head Boy did him so much good too.

“He was always so thoughtful towards the younger pupils and so responsible too; he’d take on other people’s queries or worries and just go and sort them out if he could. John never had a bad word to say about anyone.”

Following John’s death in September, the School opened a book of condolence. The stories, memories and comments shared within these books demonstrated how much he was respected by fellow students and how his pleasant, cheerful nature had touched teachers, visitors to the School, parents, prospective parents and many others. John is sadly missed.

Rest in Peace.

Should you wish to make a donation in memory of John, his parents have set up a Memorial Fund. The proceeds will go to research into the cure and containment of Burkitt’s Lymphoma and CLIC Sargent, specifically Sam’s House in Bristol. The account details are: Susan and John Brown – Memorial Fund for John Douglas Brown, Natwest Bank, Account number 68888279 Sort Code 600213, Bedford, 81 High Street. Any donations will be greatly appreciated and the money used for medical research and to support young cancer patients and their families.

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