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John Barton
A Tribute to the life of the late John Barton of Normandy in Surrey
John Barton
(1937 - 2013)

John was born the 8th March 1937 at 14 Dynevor Place, Fairlands, Worplesdon, to parents Margaret (known to one and all as "Peg") and Eric Barton. His first school was Perry Hill School Worplesdon (closed in the 1960s and later converted into delightful dwellings), and also to which his younger brother Roger went. At age eleven years John successfully passed the 11+ examination for Guildford Grammar School. At the tender age of fifteen John first met Pauline Nubbert, his future wife, at the local youth club (known locally as "the Tin Hut" or somewhat more formally as "The FLG Club"), but their real relationship started a few years later at about 18 years of age. Long before John met Pauline, his future sister-in-law Pat, who was a close neighbour, recalled one of her early memories of John. It was in 1949, when as a boy of about 12 years of age, he waded into the pond at Fairlands Common to recover her fishing jam jar!

After leaving the Grammar School in 1953, John commenced an Engineering Apprenticeship at Vickers Armstrong in Weybridge, during which time his scholarly abilities gained him a Degree in Mechanical Engineering. Having completed his term of Apprenticeship, John avoided National Military Service by a whisker and was subsequently employed within the Company as a Draughtsman. Meanwhile, and at about 19 years of age, that previous tender flirtatious relationship with Pauline entered a far more serious phase, culminating in their marriage at St Mary's Church Worplesdon on the 5th January 1957. Their first born daughter Pamela arrived the following June and although no one bothered with the maths it was apparent from the delighted faces of the wedding guests and close family members (notwithstanding the fact that Pauline's parents were of the farming fraternity), there was a complete absence of shotguns and pitchforks in the group photos! The early years of the young family were spent living with Pauline's Mum Bertha at her flat in Friary Street. Once again circumstances were to outstrip the limitations of this accommodation by the imminent arrival of another birth for Pauline.

John Barton c.1955
John Barton c.1955

Wedding photo of John and Pauline Barton
Wedding photo of John and Pauline Barton

Early in 1959, John and Pauline bought their first and their only house 1 Holly Bank, Glaziers Lane, Normandy. It was, by repute, very much a "run-down" property to say the least. It was, however, to be their home, and it was to there that Pauline and her newly born baby Susan, born in the local hospital in the August of that year, and two-year-old Pamela, were introduced for the very first time. A wonderful life for all was about to start.

In the 1960's, Pauline's Mum Bertha bought the adjoining property 2 Holly Bank as an investment present for Pauline and John and on which, John immediately embarked on a lengthy re-development project to convert the two semi-detached houses into a single dwelling. It was to remain an ongoing project over the progressing years, but to this day remains unfinished, although completed major works permit for full accommodation as an enlarged single dwelling but more importantly - a home. Holly Bank will always remain a testimony to his DIY skills, albeit he was denied the opportunity to finish the current project to modernise the bathroom; the work on which had extended well beyond a year prior to his totally unexpected demise.

John Barton c.1962
John Barton c.1962

Commensurate with the acquisition of the adjoining property, John started a new and novel employment with "Airlog" of Aldershot, a company with which he stayed for the next fifteen years. John was always a great laugh - his nickname was "Punch" when he worked at Airlog because of his chin and his frequent joking. Pauline and John's third and last daughter Jacqui was born in the July of 1966.

For the five-some family, summer holidays were taken with Pauline's brother Brian Nubbert, his wife Pat, and their three children David, Carol and Julie in this wonderful country of ours, but having endured several years of rain-spoilt holidays, the two families ventured abroad in 1970 and discovered the delights of Northern Spain, in particular the camping site of Las Dunas, which for the next seven years provided both families with the most pleasurable of holidays. John lived life to the full, often regardless of the consequences, partly because to him - life was fun particularly when it came to taking risks. For the first joint family trip to France and Spain and it being early morning with very little traffic, John was 'practising' driving on the right as the family got closer and closer to the Ferry Departure Port.

The cars they used to take on holiday to the Continent were testament to taking risks but with John around such risks were minimised due entirely to his mechanical skills. Ironically an early recollection of such skills is of John fixing someone else's car. They met a family in Spain with whom they had a thoroughly good time and on the trip back through France, found them stranded at the roadside. John immediately rolled-up his sleeves, fixed the problem (a split water hose) and saw them off on their way. John could be relied upon to help any member of the family at any time. Notwithstanding his recent disposition (due to the ankle injury), he responded recently to Carol's call for help with her car when she was stranded with a flat battery.

John had many roles on those holidays: cine-camera operator, driver, mechanic, comedian and general entertainment provider. It was traditional to gather at Christmas to view and remind them selves of the happy time they had on that year's holiday.

Equally, John could be surprisingly forgetful. On the Spanish holidays, the Bartons and the Nubberts tents were placed as close together as permitted, allowing them to have the most sophisticated sun screen hung between them, also there were the necessary washing lines. On one hilarious occasion John helpfully fixed one end of a washing line to his car - and then of course, "yes" he went for a drive with the inevitable result and the ribald comments. Perhaps, John's greatest venture into the gastronomic delights of Spain was the discovery of the local wine. Analytically and his philosophy was that since it was cheaper to buy wine than water it ought to be drunk in much the same way. Although John was always fun and happy he was doubly so when he'd had a drink, (or two!).

Usually, John could be relied on to leave his mark at most social events. On one such occasion he did just that, but in an unusual way at the Nubberts old home at Gravetts Lane, Worplesdon. The party was in full swing and one tended to forget such matters as ceilings of the time being low and decorated with the ubiquitous polystyrene tiles. Consequently, John's height and exuberance, together with outstretched arm punched towards the ceiling leaving his fist mark in the tile for the next few years.

In 1977, the Spanish holidays came to an end when Pauline and John had the opportunity to buy 2.5 acres of land to the rear of their home in Glaziers Lane. It was an opportunity not to be missed, since it had long been a dream of John's to becoming more self-sufficient in the interest of providing for his family. It was a huge financial challenge but one that was accepted and never regretted. John created many vegetable beds, planted lots of trees, and built progressive compost heaps to improve cultivation; the latter being the envy of many of the local gardeners; and not forgetting the inevitable variety of sheds he built, within which machinery was stored and livestock housed and bred such as chickens, ducks and geese. He and Pauline's personal dream was not only fulfilled over the years but so was that of the whole family.

Demand on his spare time was inevitable both for the continuity on the home improvements for the now coupled dwellings and the husbandry of the newly acquired land. Subsequently, John left his job at Airlog Aldershot and went self employed as a contract draughtsman, working long hours during the shorter winter months in order to have more time to himself during the longer hours of the summer months. As a result he was able to immerse himself within the demands of the home and at the same time he and Pauline had a great deal more time for each other and to indulge themselves in a long envied and newly found love of the outdoor life and all that it entailed.

A couple of years later, John and Pauline had the opportunity to adopt orphan lambs from neighbouring Spring Lambing disorders and accidents. Thus from hand feeding and rearing to "the table" became the norm for the family and together with home-grown vegetables it was difficult to speculate or imagine a more pleasurable life and as such continued with his rural and draughtsman activities for something like ten yeas, at which time his work as a contract draughtsman began to wane. Eventually that came to an end and he spent a few years in limbo enjoying the fruits of the rural life of their own land.

Clive Nichols, a newly arrived neighbour and landscape gardening contractor, offered John (now 60 years of age) a part time gardening job within his landscaping company, which John was only too pleased to accept although the probable pleasure was somewhat one-sided in that John had an unenviable record of crashing a few of the company vans in a fairly short space of time! Eventually, and using his own beloved Land Rover vehicle he travelled safely to and from customers, finally retiring from working life altogether at 65 years of age, free to thoroughly enjoy his garden interest and his many hobbies. His runner beans were legendary.

Throughout these later years, John and Pauline's three daughters grew up and left Holly Bank; Pamela married Tony and provided grandchildren Clare in 1985 and James in 1987, Sue married Neil and provided Emma in 1987 and Stewart in 1988, and Jacqui married Lee and provided Amber in 2004.

Throughout his life, John had been an avid caving enthusiast, embarked on many walking holidays with his friends, but perhaps most importantly of all, he was a keen cyclist. As a youngster, he raced for Phoenix Cycling Club, and in later years continued to ride his bike at least once a week, often with his friends Keith, Alan and Ken. He worked hard to maintain his fitness for most of his life and would cycle anything up to 40 miles for a fun ride or 100 miles and more to raise money on behalf of "Make A Wish Foundation" and "The British Heart Foundation".

John Barton at Scarfell Pike

John Barton at Scarfell Pike

John Barton - Cyclist

John had a great love of food, red wine and the occasional shot of whiskey. His knowledge of many subjects was impressive, he was a great reader, watcher of television and fascinated by maps. He was definitely an expert in most matters medical, often expounding to all who would listen on his personal and varied symptoms.

John Barton - Cyclist

In the summer of 2011, walking his beloved dog Daisy, John stepped over a stile and aggravated an old injury, which prompted a severe attack of prolonged arthritis. After suffering with the condition for well over a year - walking with difficulty and using his tractor as a mobility scooter in the garden, he finally succumbed to a surgical procedure to fuse the joint, which he fervently hoped would provide him with a new lease of life and to once again permit a return to riding his beloved bike. It was not to be for after six weeks of wearing a cast to the limb he suffered a pulmonary embolism which ended his life so very suddenly and unexpectedly on the 4th January 2013.

Poem to John Barton
Wikipedia Links
Guildford Grammar School
British Heart Foundation
Make-A-Wish Foundation

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