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Alumni Features

Donation in Recognition of John Lee

We gratefully acknowledge the donation towards our prize fund for the best role models amongst our Sixth Form students, in recognition of the inspirational teaching of John Lee, Senior English Master at Cheltenham Grammar School in the 1960s. Our thanks go to Colin Lawson, Derek Lockhart, David Rigby, David Smart and David Bostock.

John Lee

John Lee was born in 1921 into an old-established family of Sheffield steel and cutlery masters. He was educated at Kind Edward VII School, Sheffield. He joined the Territorial Army in 1939 and during the Blitz served in the anti-aircraft defences along the Thames estuary. Later as a memeber of the RAOC he was sent to Egypt and then to Iraq, where from 1942-44 he was attached to the Indian Army, organsing military transport in the Basra area. At the weekend he would sometimes organise outings to the confluence of the Tigris and the Euphrates: an area associated, at least in local lore, with the Garden of Eden. After demobilisation in 1946 he worked in agriculture and transport before going up to Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge to read English (1951-55).

He began teaching at Lewes County Grammar School for Boys in East Sussex and it was while he was teaching there that he formed a lasting friendship with Leonard Woolf. He moved on to Bablake School, Coventry and then to the City Grammar School, Lincoln. He was Head of English at Cheltenham Grammar School, 1962-68 where he taught several Oxbridge English Exhibitioners. Finally he moved as Head Master to Katherine Lady Berkeley's School, Wotton-under-Edge, before retiring in 1982.

During a busy retirement he was a governor of Cheltenham Grammar School (1984-1989), a member of Gloucestershire Education Committee, the council of Bath University and the Court of Bristol University. He currently lives in a small village in North Norfolk with his wife Katy.

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