It was with great sadness the death of John Field, at the age of 78, was reported to the Annual General Meeting in April.
John was born in Smethwick in January 1920 and entered Lawrence Sheriff School in 1929 where he remained until 1938. There is scant information regarding his academic career at school but his prowess on the sports field was renowned, especially at rugby football and cricket, his love of which he was never to lose.
On leaving school John began his long career in the building trade by joining the local firm of some repute, Foster and Dicksee.
The Second World War soon intervened and John found himself, after Dunkirk, in a colonial regiment in South Africa, where he achieved the rank of 'conductor', one of those vague ranks that colonial service often threw up. Many of the trophies that John brought back with him such as an assegaii and other native trinkets still survive, but of the pickled eighteen inch tape worm there is no trace.
On his return from the war, John rejoined his old firm and proceeded to rekindle his sporting interests by becoming an active member of the Old Laurentian Society that was in the process of acquiring Fenley Field in Bilton. It was in no small part that we must thank John and his contemporaries for the wonderful facility that we all possess today. There must be countless Old Laurentians who remember with affection those cold and frosty winter nights, clustered around the coke fire in the old hut, mulling ale with a red hot poker.
After playing rugby well into his forties, John suffered a heart attack and was forced to retire from playing, but not being involved with, the game. The very first Colts team was started and run by John with the help of a couple of other reprobates who had also seen fit to recognise the march of time. There are still many attendees at Fenley Field who reflect on those days with pleasure; his after match fry-ups for the lads, the envy of the senior players, are still talked of with awe.
Not one to be inactive, John set up his own firm in Bilton and further filled his time by honing his fishing skills. His rag bag of tangled tackle and exotic, self-tied flies were the despair of his companions, as was his ability to entice trout from locations that had defied the efforts of those accompanying him.
He and his wife, Ada, together with Ann and Michael, moved to the Falmouth area where he had spent many happy hours and bought into a local building firm which he was to run until his retirement. Before his departure, however, he was instrumental in the Society reorganisation by which the Laurentian Sports and Social Club was set up as an independent body. He was finally browbeaten into accepting the role of President and was also elected to be one of the few Honorary Life Vice Presidents in recognition of all his work for the Society.
Having successfully been accepted as a near Cornishman, John continued to keep in contact with Rugby, always making, despite a series of illnesses, the long journeys to attend Annual Dinners, Reunions and fishing gatherings until the complications following a very severe stroke kept him confined to the south west.
Those of us, to whom John was our 'Second Dad', and all his friends from the 'Rugby Days', will miss him deeply and forget him never.
M G Denny