Lives Remembered: John Ormiston

John Ormiston, who died on 9 January aged 93, led a life embracing local politics in Richmond and Kingston, service in the Second World War, which saw him evacuated with the BEF from Dunkirk and rise to the rank of major, and some 50 years working for the family wire-making business.

But it is perhaps his extraordinary devotion from childhood onwards to boating activities on the River Thames - rowing, skiffing and canoeing - for which he will be long remembered.

John, or Jack as he was invariably known because he had a a twin sister Jill, was four years old when he was regularly taken from the family home in Richmond-upon-Thames on outings up the river in their skiff, on one occasion as far as Oxford. At Westminster School he began what was to turn out to be a distinguished career in rowing. After leaving school he joined the London Rowing Club, with whom he competed at Henley, winning the Wyfold Challenge Cup for fours in 1937. And, following the interruption of the War, he channelled his energies into supporting and organising rowing, rising to become president of the London Rowing Club and chairman of the Remenham Club, an association of tideway rowing clubs.

His love of boating and the river far from exhausted by these activities, he became president of the Skiff Club, was a founding member and later chairman of the River Thames Society and helped to establish the Richmond Boat Project for disabled river users. He was also a long-time member of the Royal Canoe Club.

Jack was born in Richmond on 21 January 1916. From school he joined the family business which, since the late 18th century has been making speciality wire, in part for rigging sailing craft. Commissioned in November 1939, he found himself in action at Dunkirk and went on to serve in the Middle East and Germany, achieving the rank of major. He was mentioned in despatches in 1944.

Jack was a man of prodigious interests. On rejoining the family firm, he took a keen interest in small businesses. One of his achievements was becoming Honorary Treasurer of the National Association of British Manufacturers and helping, in 1972, to form EUROPMI, an organisation representing smaller enterprises across the EC; he later became its president. He was also a JP between 1964 and 1977, served on the councils of Kingston and Richmond-upon-Thames and was a governor of the Royal Star and Garter Home for disabled ex-servicemen and women, another Richmond institution.

Jack, whose first wife Phyllis predeceased him, is survived by two sons and two daughters and his second wife Brenda.

***

If you would like to contribute an obituary of a friend, colleague or family member, please send a piece of no more than 500 words to Obituaries, 'The Independent', 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF, by fax to 020 7005 2399 or by email to obituaries@independent.co.uk. We reserve the right to edit copy.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
voices
News
general electionThis quiz matches undecided voters with the best party for them
Life and Style
Men with beards rejoice: Your beard probably doesn't harbour faeces-like bacteria
health
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen starred in the big screen adaptation of Austen's novel in 2005
tvStar says studios are forcing actors to get buff for period roles
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before