Local Face: John Brooman

  |  Published: Mar 1st 2011
John Brooman

John Brooman was born in Barnet where he spent his first 26 years. He joined Simms Motor Units as a technical engineering apprentice in 1958 and stayed with the company as a development engineer on petrol injection equipment for the motor industry until in 1966 he was offered a position developing racing engines for Speedwell, one of Graham Hill’s companies in Chesham. In 1968 having married Anne they moved to Wendover. John stayed with the company, becoming works manager till 1981 when the company ceased trading due to tragic death of Graham Hill.

1972 saw the birth of his first son Richard followed by Edward in 1976. Both boys attended the local schools and John, along with a couple of other parents, was amazed at the lack of football on offer so they decided to start up training sessions at the weekend for the boys at Wendover Middle School. This was the start of the Wendover Junior Football Club and only last year John finally retired from the Club having been Treasurer for the past 20 years.

Through the Football Club he attended the now defunct Wendover Carnival and subsequently joined the Wendover Swimming Pool committee. Both he and Anne achieved their Life Saving qualifications in order to help out at the pool and John was Chairman for many years. Anne carried on with her swimming teachers’ exams and started up Swimming Lessons which she still runs at Green Park.

In 1981 John joined the Lone Star Group of Companies based in Hatfield as production engineer, then in Welwyn Garden City as Works Manager of one of its subsidiaries spending time working for them in China finally leaving in 2002.

Like most boys Richard and Edward wanted to try as many outdoor pursuits as possible and egged on by Anne, who was working at the stables, took up horse riding at Hastoe Riding School. The then owner, Roger Lewis, finding out John’s engineering background enlisted his help in repairing his farm equipment and also to help out at the Wendover Canal Festival, of which Roger was Chairman and also Chairman of the Wendover Arm Trust. John was then persuaded to join the committee of the Trust and in 1997 was elected as their Treasurer, a position he still holds. John was also Chairman of the Canal Festival from 2003-2005 and along with his team of volunteers raised considerable amounts for the restoration of the Wendover Arm. After the landowners refused permission to use the site for the 2010 canal festival John hopes that the new venue at Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead will be a success and help fund further restoration. He also sits on all the Trust’s sub committees and can be seen actively restoring the canal as a member of the restoration working parties. John and his family have enjoyed many memorable holidays on the canal network and look forward to seeing the Wendover Arm fully restored to its former glory as it meanders through the foothill of the Chilterns. He would also like to see more people in Wendover take part in the activities of the Trust to keep the canal alive for future generations.

Though not well known locally, John has dedicated himself to organisations in and around Wendover during his 41 years living here and is still working part time, although past retirement age, at a precision engineering company in Aylesbury.

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