Obituary: John Hawkins

Mr HawkinsWe are very sorry to announce that John Hawkins died on Monday evening at Bournemouth Hospital.

Mr Hawkins’ career at Bournemouth School spanned more than 40 years, as Chemistry teacher, Deputy Head and latterly examinations officer. During his time at the school, he always supported the Association, serving many years on the committee and as President of the Old Boys’ Cricket Club. However for most of us, we shall remember him for his happy demeanour, livening up lessons or calming pre-exam nerves, to justly earn his nickname of “Happy Harry”.

David Spencer and Paul Beardshaw wish to thank everybody who has written or sent cards and e-mails.

8 thoughts on “Obituary: John Hawkins

  1. Just heard the sad news about John Hawkins. What a wonderful man and a great colleague. He was a role model to a young teacher.
    I will never forget his leaving assembly.

  2. So sorry to here the sad news about John Hawkins. I knew him mainly through the OLD BOURNEMOUTHIANS ASSOCIATION as I had left the School by 1960. I held him in considerable esteem. He was always charming and his friendship valuable. With David and Paul, he surely made up the ‘Three Musketeers!” That I only found out about his funeral this evening, just too late, is much to my regret.

  3. RIP Happy Harry. Your theatrical performances, playing the part of a molecule in Brownian motion will never be forgotten. Likewise your performances at the School Reviews, one time a fairy godmother in Dr Marten boots. Such a great sense of fun and a truly great teacher. (Paul Cooper – Bournemouth School 1975-82)

  4. A truly wonderful, funny and compassionate man.

    As an 11-year-old just started at BS, I remember him climbing onto his desk in front of the class, which was noteworthy in itself. The thick wooden planks beneath his rotund frame visibly bowed (he wasn’t a slight man in 1979). He then proceeded to perform his impression/demonstration of anti-bouncing beads in a test tube/Bunsen burner experiment with appropriate sound effects. We were all on tenterhooks waiting for the inevitable messy collapse of man and machinery as he repeatedly jumped up and down on his desk! We were so green we didn’t know if we were allowed to laugh, although eventually the whole class was in uproar! You can’t forget a moment like that – his way of endearing himself to us and forging a meaningful relationship with newbies.

    Another anecdote. His method of transport to school used to be a rickety old bicycle, which looked as though it might collapse under his weight at any moment. It was traditional to play practical jokes on the staff at the end of the school year, and one time a group of lads decided to disassemble that bike and scatter the pieces around the school. He thought that was hilarious. Always able to laugh at himself.

    But on a more serious note, after months of constant bullying from one lad in my 4th and 5th year class, I eventually broke down and went to Happy Harry for advice (he was Deputy HM by then). He heard my story, sent me back to my class, called the culprit in to see him two minutes later, and the bullying stopped forever from that moment.

    All in all, Mr Hawkins was a class act and was loved by most who knew him.

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