Nationwide recognition for John Hartley, Alumni Recognition Awardee 2019

14 Nov 19
Four people standing in cathedral

John Hartley (Cert. Ed. 1963-66) was nominated for the University’s Alumni Recognition Award by alumni Stephen and Barbara Baldwin and Peter and Susan Jarvis, close friends for more than fifty years since graduating from Winchester in the 1960s. They nominated John for his lifelong “extensive and extended service to communities many and various”. John received his award at Winchester Cathedral in a ceremony held on 15 October 2019 during Graduation Week.

The University of Winchester Alumni Recognition Award formally recognises and celebrates the achievements of an alumnus/a of the University, or one of its predecessor institutions, who has made outstanding contributions to society. The award is conferred each year at Graduation and recipients are selected by the University Senior Management Team with input from the Winton Club Working Group.

News of John’s award has reached up and down the country along the channels of the alumni network. Across the north, in his home region of North East Lancashire local press have printed his story in the papers, and Yorkshire-based Drystone Radio covered it in their news bulletins.

While still at school, John helped his father with his administration of a textile trade union and the restoration of textile and mill-related machinery which was subsequently donated to the Bancroft Steam Engine Trust.

As a student at King Alfred's College (as the University of Winchester was then known) he gave his time, skills and energies to getting things done, as the following colourful examples illustrate. He harnessed his craft skills to convert an abandoned wheeled water butt into a chariot to rally fellow West Hayes residents to form a Celtic raiding party to raise funds for charity. He employed his leadership skills to motivate a team to build a guy that would win Winchester City’s annual bonfire competition. Perhaps most memorably, John put his resourcefulness to use when the College Drama Society staged Sgt Musgrave’s Dance and many of the cast needed to be dressed in clogs. He used his contacts in North East Lancashire to ensure that the characters were authentically shod and the story hit the national press.

During John’s successful teaching career he became Head of Lower School at Park High School, Colne. As part of this role he used his considerable organisational skills to lead 22 groups of pupils on separate visits to the Great War battle fields. His diligent researches into local war memorials led him to accruing a deep knowledge of the region’s soldiers who served, leading to a role as volunteer contributor to BBC local radio on the subject.

When John first returned to Winchester in July 2006 he noted the names in the Chapel memorial panels of the Great War fallen alumni. His extensive research into the background of each of the names was used as a resource for the recently published history of the institution, The University of Winchester: 175 Years of Values-Driven Higher Education by Tom Beaumont James. It also served as a strong starting point for the alumni research project, Winchester Training College Roll Call of the Fallen 1914 – 1918.

After retiring from headship, John taught handicraft for pupils with special educational needs, using his local knowledge and contacts to accumulate additional resources and opportunities to enrich the lives of his pupils.

John has a deep attachment to his home region and has greatly contributed to the community through his membership of the local Rotary Club, including being Santa at charity collections and organising the Skipton Santa Fun Run which attracts 2,000 runners and has raised over £100,000 for local charities.

Never missing the opportunity to raise awareness of the University of Winchester, for example in talks on the local speakers’ circuit, John serves as a loyal alumni ambassador for the institution for which he still has a great affection and to which he says he owes a deep gratitude. In recent years he has continued his voluntary work despite having to overcome a number of health issues. The fact that he has successfully managed to do so is due in no small part to the support he receives from his wife Janet.

John Hartley is the ubiquitous volunteer. When he identifies a need he is ever ready and happy to offer his time, knowledge and skills to address that need. The University is proud to honour John through the Alumni Recognition Award.

Reflecting on his award, John said "I still cannot believe that I got the award. I am so proud that my fellow Wintonians felt moved to nominate me and that the University made the award. 

"I feel honoured and humbled. I have always been proud to tell people where I achieved my Certificate of Education and to encourage others to follow in my footsteps, not only to Winchester but certainly into the profession. My years at King Alfred’s College go down as possibly the best of my life. I had always considered myself lucky to have had an education, hot and cold running water and three meals a day after an early life in the then grim North of England. To sum up, it was a great honour. Janet, my wife, and I had a wonderful day at graduation. I would encourage fellow Wintonians to nominate former students in order that the Alumni Recognition Award continues."


Do you know someone who you believe deserves an Alumni Recognition Award? Click here to see more information and to download a nomination form.

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