John Redfearn Austin - High Wycombe 41 Club
1938 - 2016
John was born in The Shrubbery Nursing Home in High Wycombe on February 18th, 1938. He commenced his Secondary education at Mill End Road School and, in those days, the 13+ exam existed, which John took and passed, allowing him to continue his education at The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe.
Woodwork was also taught at the R.G.S, at which John excelled. He also played rugby for the School, becoming prop forward for the senior team. National Service intervened and John joined The Royal artillery, rising to the rank of Sergeant and NEVER forgetting his Army number. He was offered a commission just before he was due to leave, which he declined, but, in later years, expressed regret for not having taken the offer up.
John was a lover of sport and “open space”, playing in the second row for High Wycombe R.U.F.C., and becoming a crack-shot at game-shooting. Woodwork was a passion for him and he worked initially for well-known furniture manufacturers in the town, before spending some time in South Africa, a country which he loved.
On his return to the U.K., John became a Director of an Architectural Joinery company, one of his most admired projects being a wooden bridge to span a large lake in North Dean – a village close to his home.
The recession of 1990 caused the demise of his Joinery company, but he went on to set up Croft Enterprises – a construction and joinery company, which he remained with until his retirement.
He loved golf and had played Junior tennis for Buckinghamshire. Not only was he a supportive member of 41 Club, he had been a Parish Councillor and a member of the Guarantors – a group of local business men who invited local elderly people to a Christmas Dinner every year, complete with superb entertainment.
Sadly, ill-health took over his life, to the point at which he became bed-ridden, spending the last eight weeks of his life in the Florence Nightingale Hospice. In spite of the situation, his sense of humour was not affected and many a District Nurse visiting John were heard singing “naughty” rugby songs at the tops of their voices.
He was allowed home for a short period and had been looking forward to watching the Six Nations Rugby competition, but, sadly, passed away just before England won the “Grand Slam”.