Workaid wanted to take a moment to sincerely thank Sir John Johnson, a patron since the early 1990s, for his contribution to the charity. As a dedication we thought we would share a snapshot into Sir John Johnson’s interesting life and career.
Sir John Johnson was born in India in 1930, but returned to the UK for his education, living with his grandmother. Beyond his Grammar School education, Sir John went on to read Modern Languages at Keble College Oxford. Sir John began his distinguished career after graduating and joining the Colonial Service where he was first appointed to Kenya as District Commissioner. He returned to the UK to take his Civil Service Administrative exam after Kenya became independent. Later he became known as an African specialist, which saw him appointed to Algeria, Nigeria and Barbados. He then became High Commissioner to Zambia and after several years in this position, he was chosen for the same position in Kenya and became a member of HM Diplomatic Service, working at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London.
Workaid was initially launched in response to the worst humanitarian disaster in the twentieth century in 1986. A collection of passionate members of the community came together wanting to provide long term practical assistance in Africa, by encouraging people to donate unwanted or unused tools and equipment that would be refurbished and sent to East Africa. From the first small workshop in Little Chalfont, to a team of over 200 now, our objectives haven’t changed, but the increase in the number of volunteers, our operations and, most importantly our impact, certainly have. It couldn’t have been known when Workaid was established that we’d have grown into the charity we are today. Sir John brought his extensive experience working in Africa to Workaid along with his wife Lady Jean Johnson who also played an active role as Patron.
Sir John’s extraordinary involvement in the community didn’t end there. In his spare time, Sir John was an avid mountain climber and walker, exploring much of the Chilterns. His persistent and continued commitment to his local community is evident when hearing about his involvement in numerous societies. Becoming the Chairman of the Countryside Commission, Vice President of the Chiltern Society and Chairman of the Chiltern Conservation Board. Sir John’s highly revered reputation proceeds him, pausing on walks around Shardeloes Lake to sit in a carved tree trunk which became known by locals as “John’s Seat”.
As a result, he was honoured with opening a number of walks in the Chilterns such as the Thames Path. Furthermore, he and his wife, Lady Jean, were members of the Amersham Society; attending meetings and taking part in local events. Lady Jean was also a member of the Amersham Society Committee for a number of years which involved organising annual outings and lectures.
Sir John has truly left a footprint on all the people who knew him and will be wholeheartedly missed, both by Workaid and in the local community.