Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Farewell to clever man schooled here

JOHN CANT, a talented linguist who gave general education classes at Guildford Technical College, has died, aged 98.

His pupils were teenage apprentices, such as plumbers and hairdressers, and he would take some of them on his family’s summer holidays to Europe.

According to his obituary in the Times, it was John’s foster mother in Henley who first spotted his
intelligence.

His parents had split up when he was a child after his father, who served in the Royal Navy, discovered his wife had been unfaithful while he was at sea.

John was fostered by the woman, who was a teacher, and although she mistreated him, she ensured he took the 11-plus exam when he was nine.

John took up a place at Henley Grammar School, which was announced in “a local newspaper” with the headline: “Sailor’s son wins scholarship”.

When he and his wife Margaret and their two children went on their holidays with his students, they would go on outings together.

Occasionally, John would have to extricate one of his charges from a misadventure, such as the girl who caused consternation when she marched into a bank in Switzerland wearing only a swimwsuit!

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