In Loving Memory of

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John Udy

In loving memory of John Udy, who passed away in February 2023, aged 87. Deeply missed by his wife Margaret, daughters Cathy and Helen, son-in-law Geir Olav, grandchildren Kate and Sev, and his siblings Anne, Robin and Martin, and their families.

John’s life was dedicated to his family and a career in education. He met Margaret at Leicester University where he studied history, and Margaret studied geography and geology. They both became exemplary secondary school teachers, championing new approaches to teaching, and supporting each student individually in their learning, no matter what their background.

John’s first post was in 1960 at Guthlaxton Grammar School, Wigston Magna in Leicestershire. He was Head of History and developed a Careers Department.

From Leicester, the family moved to Egremont in the Lake District and John became Head of House at Wyndham School, Egremont. The Lakes inspired the whole family with a lifelong love for mountains, lakes and sea, and for sailing and hill walking. John joined the mountain rescue team, and he shared memories of training exercises and rescues, including whiteouts in the snow.

In 1968, John became Senior Deputy Headmaster at Burnage Grammar School in Manchester, and then in 1971 became the founding Principal of Knutsford County High School, Cheshire. He successfully brought two schools together to create one new comprehensive school of very high standard and renown, now the Knutsford Academy. This was a testament to his considerable personal skills, vision and belief in the comprehensive system.

John had a strong love and affinity for the Southwest of England, and he spent much of his youth in Torbay with his mother Kitty and his brothers and sister. In 1980, in a homecoming, he returned to the Southwest with Margaret to become Head Teacher of Queen Elizabeth School in Crediton, Devon. At the school, he respected and acknowledged the importance of long-held traditions, and alongside this brought in the very best of current educational curriculum approaches.

Former teachers and pupils from all his schools have said that John was a kind, fair and supportive teacher and Head Teacher, and he was held in high regard and respect by all.

An adventurer, John loved the sea and sailing. He skippered sea-going yachts with Margaret and friends, from Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth, and the Torquay and Brixham Marinas. John founded the Hurley Owners Association in 1998 and played a leading role in organising sailing rallies, building a membership across the UK and around the world. There are now over 1,500 global members of the Hurley Owners Association Facebook page.  

After retirement, Margaret and John settled in Devon and then Somerset, enjoying the beautiful and peaceful countryside and coast – travelling in Europe, Asia, and Australia with their children and grandchildren – and spending time in their wonderful gardens and allotment. John planted 485 deciduous native broad-leafed trees in one of their gardens.

John lived a long and good life and was well-liked and loved by all. His family and friends hold many treasured memories.

Donations in John’s memory can be made to Trees for Life, a charity working to restore the Caledonian Forests of Scotland:

Book Owner: Cathy Preston
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Danusia and Martin Kellett

We feel privileged to have had John as a neighbour for several years. He always had a twinkle in his eye and was an interesting and amusing conversationist. We had sailing in common and he would always ask us about our latest sailing adventures. We know he is greatly missed and would like to …

Bernard Hurst

As a newly qualified teacher in 1974, John appointed me as a music teacher to Knutsford County High School. It was  baptism of fire as in my first term the school had decided to produce the musical ‘Oliver!’  From the outset John was very supportive of the Arts and his calm manner, encouragement and …

Thais Martins

We have met some times in the past and everytime, I thought you very gentle and kind with an open and sincere smile. I have not known you well but I recognise in your daughter Cath (who has been a dear friend for many years) your kind and gentle ways and your sure guidance. …

Richard and Sue Waite

With fond memories of John and Margaret joining us on a very cold and frosty New Year’s Eve. Love to all. Xxx …

Danny Flynn

A warm and lovely man.Grateful our paths crossed briefly. …

Mary Sanders

John will be sadly missed and will be forever in our thoughts. Thinking of all the family at this sad time. Peter, Ann, Mary and Nigel. …

Knutsford Academy

The staff and students of Knutsford Academy and Cheshire Studio School would like to extend their deepest condolences on the death of our former Headteacher Mr John Udy. He laid the ground for a truly comprehensive school – and that continues today.  Our kindest regards, Staff and students at Knutsford Academy …

Steven Birch

Condolences to you Cathy and your family for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and wish you peace and comfort in the days and weeks ahead. …

Margaret Moran Mylett

Mr Udy gave me my first job in teaching at QE, Crediton, and I am still there more than 30 years later. I remember him as a kind, open and wise leader. My sincere condolences to his family. …

Anne Udy

In loving memory of my dear brother John Udy. He rang or sent me a text most weeks often giving me advice which he knew I would not always take! I will miss his calls! …