John Pike – a real gentleman
We are sad to announce the death of our immediate past Chairman, John Pike, here standing on the right of our Churcher’s volunteers. He had been ill after suffering a stroke last August. John, who was 81, won the prestigious Mayor’s Award for his work with the Friends. He was a founder member of our now thriving group in 1991 and was our Chairman from 2005 – 2015.
The projects John spearheaded include the installation of raised paths, the spreading of heather, and creation of dry hedges from excess saplings and scrub. With volunteers from the group, he oversaw the restoration of Victorian railings, and new boundary hedging, which won an award from The Petersfield Society and Best Local Community Initiative, run by Life in Petersfield magazine.
Our current Chairman Richard Warton, had this to say: ”John was a real gentleman, kind, considerate, and always a diplomat. He had a long association with the heath and was always concerned about its welfare and management. He steered a delicate course between conflicting opinions about its future”.
John was born in Petersfield in 1935 and was a pupil at Churcher’s College until he joined the Royal Air Force during his National Service. He later had a fulfilling career in civil engineering, building bridges and roads, even stretches of the M3.
John married Vivien at St Peters Church in 1961 and the couple had two sons, Ian and Richard. Four grandsons and a grand-daughter followed.
John was a keen sportsman who played rugby and cricket for Petersfield Town. He became Vice-President and a trustee of Petersfield Cricket Club. He was also Chairman of the Petersfield Probus Club in 2008.
John and Vivien greatly enjoyed running the Turnpike Gallery in Dragon Street for eight years during retirement years. Vivien said, “We absolutely loved every minute of that! It really worked and it was lovely”. She added, “John also loved walking – perfection to him was to live near the South Downs, and for as long as he could, he would take a walk around heath pond”.
The family are gratified that Johns’ body has been accepted for medical research, as he wished.