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SVS Foundation News

News stories from the School and Old Suttonian communities

News > Deaths and Obituaries > Obituary - John Pye (1943 M)

Obituary - John Pye (1943 M)

Ian Kay (1941 M) provides the following obituary for his friend at SVS, John Pye (1943 M), who sadly died on 25 May 2019.
Earlier this summer, we were sad to hear the news of the death of John Pye (1943 M). He remained in touch with other Old Suttonians, one of whom, Ian Kay (1941 M), has kindly provided the following obituary of his friend. 

John Pye was born on 1st March 1925 at Cobham in Kent at his family farm. He came to Sutton Valence in September 1936, originally in Lambe’s House. I joined the School in May 1937, also in Lambe’s, and we became the best of friends for the rest of our lives. 

On leaving the School in 1943, he returned to work on the family farm, but also widened his knowledge by working on other farms locally. During the remainder of the Second World War, farming was a reserved occupation, but John wanted to fly, so he joined the Royal Air Force in June 1944.

After initial training here in the UK, he was sent to Canada for further instruction. However, after three months out there, training was suspended following the end of the war in Europe, so he returned to the UK.  Six months later he was ‘demobbed’ to enable him to return to farming, as food was short and still being rationed.

By this time, his family had moved to Moon’s Farm at Piltdown in Sussex. He also worked at other farms including Swanborough, near Lewes, where he remained for some six years and where he also met his future wife, Ann. 

In 1957, his uncle offered him the chance of a partnership in Newall Hall, Huntingfield in Suffolk. This was an arable and dairy farm and over the next 16 years he built up the herd very successfully. 

John had married in September 1959 and he and Ann had three boys - David, Stephen and Christopher. In 1973, his uncle died and Newall Hall had to be sold. As a result, John and his family moved to Alderholt on the Dorset/Hampshire border in late 1974, where he became the manager of three farms comprising Alderholt Park.

Two years later, they were able to purchase Alderholt Mill. This had been a working water mill many years earlier, but had become very derelict and in need of repair. With advice and help from craftsmen, it was gradually brought back to milling again and the flour was sold in the craft shop they had opened in part of the remaining rooms. 

In October 1995, John and Ann retired, sold the mill and moved to Fordingbridge in Hampshire. John had been very active in farming circles and in a good many local societies, particularly connected with music. He enjoyed singing with the Alderholt Church choir, at Fordingbridge Church and in the local choral society. He was also involved with the 93 Club, the local Hospital Friends group, the local museum and Arthritis Research.
He remained in good health until the last few years of his life, when he became increasingly disabled. Sadly, he died on 25th May this year at home. He is survived by his wife, three sons and three grandchildren - Daniel, Katrina and Cameron.

We were both very fortunate to have been taught Latin by Norman ‘Publius’ Bentley (Staff 1921-1964) so, after 82 years of friendship, I was able to say to John “requiescat in pace”.

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