Local Face: John Thompson

I was born in West Wales on a mixed farm (thus being a fluent Welsh speaker). Following a grammar school education, I joined the RAF boys’ service in 1960, training in logistics at RAF Hereford and have lived in Wendover since 1976, when I was posted to the permanent staff at RAF Halton. I have been married to Helen for 45 years. She hails from the Kingdom of Fife in Scotland. Her school in St Andrews overlooked the golf links. We met in Wolverhampton when she was doing her nursing training.

I served for 25 years, covering many parts of the world, including Europe and the Middle East.

We settled in Wendover and after her career as an RAF nurse, Helen started in civvy street at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. By now our three children were all in local schools. From Grenville Avenue my local was the Marquis of Granby where I was asked to join the darts team one evening when they had an unexpected vacancy. This led to an association with the Wendover Village Darts League which has lasted over 40 years. My current post is as Chairman. We moved nearer to the centre of Wendover and the Royal British Legion became my local. On leaving the RAF we realised that we loved living in Wendover so much that we would stay and I had a change of profession thereafter working for Kellogg’s as Production Manager at their Askey’s plant in Aylesbury.

Due to a hereditary condition, I had a kidney transplant in 2007. Up until this time, I was an active sportsman playing rugby and football. I was a football referee for over thirty years, eleven of which were in professional football. I am now on the board of the Spartan South Midlands league, specialising in ground grading when teams are going to be promoted to a higher league.

Through the Legion, I have been closely involved with the poppy appeal for 30 years and the organiser for nearly 20 years. I find the people of Wendover and RAF Halton most generous when it comes to the appeal which usually yields between £8-10K annually. I am very proud of all the volunteers who help and every penny donated goes straight to the cause.

It is particularly prominent this year on the centenary anniversary of the end of the First World War when the poppy was recognised as the symbol of remembrance and hope. There is always a good turnout for the Remembrance Parade and you are most welcome to attend this year at 2.30pm on Sunday 11 November.