Tribute: John How

  |  Published: Apr 1st 2006
John How

It is with great sadness that Wendover Bowls Club reports the death of our longest serving member Johnny How, at Stoke Mandeville Hospital on February 28, at the age of 91. John was also well known as former editor of the Bucks Advertiser and former Clerk to Wendover Parish Council.

John was born in Wendover and joined the Bucks Advertiser as a cub reporter on leaving Aylesbury Grammar School. He famously cycled all over Aylesbury Vale gathering reports of Parish Council meetings and results of horticultural competitions. When he became Sports Editor of the Bucks Advertiser John reported the activities of Wendover Bowls Club in the 1930's.

After wartime service as a wireless operator in the Far East he returned to the Bucks Advertiser as editor in the late 1940s - a period that saw the introduction of photographs to the newspaper. He later moved to The Watford Post - another newspaper in the Home Counties Group - before finally settling at the Bucks Free Press in High Wycombe in the mid 1960s. In 1968 he launched the Mid-week Free Press and remained its editor until his retirement. Many residents of the Wycombe area avidly followed the exploits of John and his late wife, Erica - always referred to as "The Queen Bee", in his weekly column "How's About".

In Wendover, John was a great supporter of the Tennis Club but in his late 30s moved over to the Wendover and Chiltern Hills Bowls Club which was reformed in 1950 and was present at the opening of the existing green in May 1954. John continued to report on the club for many years. He also kept dossiers of club activities over the second half of the last century. These were of great value when the club Centenary Booklet was produced.

John served on the Club Committee for 43 years, was a life member for 15 years and also a club trustee for 30 years. Those members who knew Johnny will remember him most for his fine turn of wit. A Journalist for most of his life Johnny was a natural speaker. For a small man, whom bowlers regularly asked to "stand up John" he punched well above his weight. As club secretary for 13 years John could always be relied on to give an entertaining report at the Annual General Meeting.

In 2002 he celebrated 50 years as a club member. To commemorate this one rink each from nine local clubs joined 5 rinks from the club for the 'Golden How Spoon Drive'. John managed a few ends and was guest of honour at a post match meal. This was the last time John played, but he still managed a witty speech. The club will miss Johnny very much, despite his 'Barnes Wallace' deliveries. He was a true character of Bowls, a great man, and a significant contributor to the growth of the club.

From 1965 John was Clerk to Wendover Parish Council, a part-time job which he continued well past his own retirement. For two decades he was a constant face as many councillors came and went. Although he recognised that Wendover had to change he was determined that the past should be remembered. So, for instance, when the area around the War memorial was tidied up he was adamant that it should not be renamed but should still be known as the Manor Waste.

John was a keen traveller but he never forgot his first journey over the sea - a camping trip to Jersey with Wendover Boy Scouts. "The entire village came out to greet us when we returned," he recalled, "it was as if Mafeking had been relieved all over again!"

John was given a woodland burial at the Olney Green Burial Ground. His daughter Nicola said "It did seem quite a long way from where he'd lived all his life but then we remembered that Olney was one of the places that he really liked to play bowls - so its like a permanent away match at his favourite club really!"

His son Jonathan designed the coffin decoration which incorporated images of bowls woods and huge typewriter keys. "Bowls and journalism were the two loves of his life," he commented, "so it seemed only fitting that he should be surrounded by those symbols at his end."

A celebration of John How's life will be held on July 15 so if you knew him of old and would like to come then phone 01296 624343.

Browse our Articles

Articles By Date
Search our Articles
Back to top