Family pays tribute to former Portsmouth Grammar School teacher John Hopkinson

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TRIBUTES have been paid to a beloved former Portsmouth Grammar School teacher who ‘always put people’s happiness before his own.’

Popular John Hopkinson died peacefully in his Southsea home with his wife Meg by his side on January 12 at the age of 96.

His family have spoken of his lasting legacy at the school where he taught from 1949 until his retirement in 1990, and have invited anyone who knew John – also known as Hoppy – to attend his funeral at Portsmouth Cathedral on January 31.

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Former Portsmouth Grammar School teacher John Hopkinson with his familyFormer Portsmouth Grammar School teacher John Hopkinson with his family
Former Portsmouth Grammar School teacher John Hopkinson with his family

John’s son, Andrew Hopkinson, said: ‘We can only hope that his legacy lives on and that he’s inspired many people to be more like him as he never stayed put and he always put people’s happiness before his own.’

John Derek Hopkinson was born in Chesterfield in 1925 and gained a scholarship to Chesterfield Grammar School.

His teaching career was preceded by a spell in the Royal Navy and from 1945 he served with 804 Squadron in the Fleet Air Arm. This was followed by a further period of study at Loughborough College, where he took a final year Physical Education diploma, before starting teaching in Weston-Super-Mare.

In the summer of 1949 he and Meg married, and a few weeks later he joined the Portsmouth Grammar School as head of PE. As well as teaching PE he also taught geography, and in 1961 graduated with an external honours degree in geography from the University of London.

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Former PGS teacher John HopkinsonFormer PGS teacher John Hopkinson
Former PGS teacher John Hopkinson

Throughout his lifetime he also coached swimming, water polo and lifesaving and was involved in early days of competitive tennis, as well as being the founding treasurer of the local national decorative and fine arts society, a keen golfer and maintaining a close contact with the Portsmouth cathedral.

He played a big part of all the communities that he’s been in before he retired in 1990, and then he decided to take this further and founded his small business called Pembroke Tutors.

John was also known for helping people in need. Andrew, 64, added: ‘He had a good sense when people would go off the rails a little and needed help being put back on track, and he did just that’

The funeral for John will take place at 1.30pm on Monday, January 31 at Portsmouth Cathedral.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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