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News > School news > John Crawshaw, College Governor for 30 years, has died

John Crawshaw, College Governor for 30 years, has died

The Eastbournian Society is extremely sad to hear of the death of a great supporter, John Crawshaw
26 Jun 2023
School news
John Crawshaw on his 80th birthday
John Crawshaw on his 80th birthday

We were sorry to hear that John Crawshaw passed away on 20 May aged 89.

John’s professional life was as a board director of Church Shoes with responsibility for the group's 120 retail outlets which included Jones Bootmaker. He wrote the history of Church Shoes and had a regular column in Shoe and Leather News

From the College’s perspective, John was a College governor for some 30 years where one of his responsibilities was as staff liaison officer, and many staff were grateful for his wise advice and sympathetic ear.

At the same time, he was director of the company which ran the College business interests such as the external lets. He also represented the College on the governing body of St Andrew’s Prep.

He often worked quietly behind the scenes using his network of local contacts for the benefit of the College. In the 1970s, he was founder-chairman of the Eastbourne and District Vocational Information Service (EDVIS) which facilitated local schools talking to local employers. Having successfully held an EDVIS careers event in Big School, he later asked David Winn (who was chairman and then president of the Old Eastbournian Association later to become the Eastbournian Society) and the OEA to be involved along with the then master-in-charge of careers the Revd Cliff Comyns. Out of this was born what is now the very successful annual Futures Convention.

Among other hands-on projects was the re-introduction of the Cornflower Ball as a College fundraiser which he and his wife Fi undertook, as well as organising and selling picnics on Speech Day to raise funds to buy new robes for the College Choir. Their children are OEs: Vicky (Nugent 1975–77), a long-standing College governor, and Steven (Craig 1974–79).

He was a business advisor for the Prince's Trust, and it was his passion for exploring ways to support young musicians that, for more than 20 years, he was also chairman of the Eastbourne Music and Arts Festival. 

Very involved with local music-making, John was a founding trustee and chairman of the Norah Sande Award Scheme (which is now in its 18th year), a competition for young pianists. The winner plays a concerto with the Eastbourne Symphony Orchestra (ESO) which was founded by College staff members in 1980 and other local people and of which John was the first president. He had, until very recently and from the early 1970s sung in every College choral concert which later became part of the ESO’s annual programme.

Beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend; John’s funeral is on Wednesday 28 June at 1.00pm at Eastbourne Crematorium.

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