In Loving Memory of
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: