John Hemming

John Hemming4 August 1927 – 23 December 2018

John was born in Solihull to his dad Jack and mother Amy. They first lived in Studley where they helped to run a family bakery. Following the split of their marriage he spent time between both parents. His mum’s house had pigs, sheep and a horse that he rode and always had a dog and a ferret to help with catching and trapping rabbits at the tender age of 10! This is where his love of animals began and most of his life he had a dog at his side.

He did not enjoy school and left as soon as he could and his first job was working in some gardens where his knowledge of horticulture developed, with a special delight in roses which always grew in the garden at home. He completed his National Service in Italy as a despatch rider and there were a number of occasions when he nearly lost his life.

When he returned from the army it was to find his wife had died soon after having his son. The hard decision was made to leave Michael to be brought up by his grandparents and John started working for Fosters driving a large red van that took household supplies to local villages and when a position came up in Milton he moved to the area where he met his second wife Pat and they had Joanna, Anthony and Patrick.

John was a keen sportsman whilst in the army. His main love was football. He was approached to play for Aston Villa and after having a trial they offered 3/- a week to play, but his job paid 4/- so he stayed with his job. John started managing the local boys’ team and although he was still playing himself (he was last seen on a football pitch at the age of 63!) he enjoyed this role and went on to manage many local men’s teams and the Witney and District team.

After Fosters he went into the building trade, mainly lorry driving but could turn his hand to most skills. Family life was his number one priority. Picking up bits of scrap metal for some cash, some pennies often went on a horse and more often it won! Family Christmases and large gatherings in the garden on bonfire night were events the family always looked forward to. Sadly, his wife Pat suffered from Alzheimer’s and he looked after her for many years. After a nasty fall last May John did not get better and passed away on 23rd December. The family were touched by so many tributes including one from a past player which sums John up, “An absolute gent, a legend and just one of the nicest guys ever!”.

John’s Family

April – May 2019