Tribute to John Laurie

Published on: 30 Jan 2014

john laurie

BROMLEY Heath is mourning one of the community’s founders, John Laurie, who has died at the age of 83.

John, whose wife Margaret died a few years ago, leaves two daughters and a son.

The couple moved to Bromley Heath 60 years ago. They set up home in a house that was half built, with cows running along Oakdale Road and a clear view to Frenchay. They watched the estate spring up and quickly recognised that there were lots of young families moving into the area who didn’t know each other and felt isolated. John and Margaret epitomised community spirit – personally welcoming new families to the area and organising dances and social events. When planning permission was turned down for a local playgroup, they built a room on the back of their home in order to run their own playgroup. John felt that people in the community were beginning to pull away from each other and wanted a day where everyone could unite together. Bromley Heath Festival was born.

John, along with his best friend and neighbour of 47 years, John Honeywill, ran a children’s gym club for many years before the building near Cleeve Tennis Court was shut down. The pair also founded the Frenchay 10k in 1981.

John was a founder member of Bromley Heath Neighbourhood Council, taught Sunday School prior to training as a teacher and organised many events which bought the community together. He ran local children’s parties as well as family New Year’s Eve celebrations at Bromley Heath Junior School. John was also one of the original members of Badminton Road Methodist Church and was an active member until his death. Everything John did was dedicated to the community and, most importantly, the children of the area. 

John was a man who never sought recognition for his work and said: “By seeking to enrich the lives of others, I also enrich my own”.

Angela Athay-Hunt, co-chair of Heathfest, said: “John was, without exaggeration, an inspiration. His love from the area literally changed the social landscape. This year Heathfest will be awarding the Laurie Award, which was set up in 2012 in recognition of John’s work, to someone who impacts the local children positively. John will be hugely missed by the community yet his spirit will stay with us.”

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