John Gascoigne Chapman, Olds 1945-1947 (October 2016)

John Gascoigne Chapman

John had a remarkable and unconventional life.  After leaving Lancing in 1947, national service in the Royal Veterinary Corp and agricultural college followed.  Anyone who remembers him will know that he was quite short at 5’3” but he was very fond of telling the story that amongst the majority at the RVC, who were jockeys, he was known as ‘Lofty’.  At Lancing he loved sport, particularly diving (from a diving board) and cross-country running.  He said he dived because he thought it didn’t need a huge amount of talent on his part but quite a bit of guts.   He lost his two front teeth diving at Lancing.  He used to run to Hove to get a haircut and when he didn’t need a haircut, he just ran there just for the pleasure of it.  There were also stories of various injured animal rescues and adoptions, including a pigeon and a ferret as well as night time excursions to go rabbiting.  All likely to be prohibited at the time but John was not a rule follower.  Aside from those antics, although not an academic, he always said he gained a lot from being a Lancing boy.  Good friends and sound principles that he would carry for the rest of his life.

 He decided to go to Malaya in 1952 to be a rubber planter.  It was during the Emergency and he narrowly escaped being killed by bandits due to his small stature and bullets missing his head whilst he was driving a land-rover.  He married Rosie, in Malacca in 1958 and Jennifer, his only daughter arrived 3 years later.  In 1968 he and his family returned to England, firstly using a static caravan in Henfield as a base, then exchanged it for a touring caravan to travel around the country in search of the perfect small holding.  This perfect small holding was Bakers Hill Farm near Liskeard in Cornwall.  Here he became a commercial rabbit farmer, then a goat keeper of a large herd of different breed goats and then a boarding kennels and cattery owner.  He retired in the early ‘90s and he and Rosie lived happily in the village of Widegates until he died of heart failure on 14 October 2016.  Rosie died in November 2018.  He is survived by his daughter, Jennifer; his sister Pat and his grand-daughter, Nicola.