Wigan Grammar School
Staff Appreciations

 

 

MR J BRADBURN

Mr Bradburn was a pupil at the School in the 1930’s and left in 1939, having been School Captain, Captain of the First Eleven cricket and Captain of the First Fifteen. His studies continued at Liverpool University in the Department of Geography under the control of Professor Roxby, who, together with his senior lecturers, was evacuated to North Wales after the declaration of war in 1939.

John volunteered early in 1940 to serve his country and, although he had stated a preference for the Artillery, was sent to the Signals, perhaps because in his interview he admitted to a knowledge of Morse Code from his time as a scout at school.

When stationed at Huddersfield he played for the local Rugby Union side and represented Yorkshire against Lancashire – some of us may never forgive him for this temporary change of allegiance. After a brief time in a “small village in Hampshire” he served in India for 2 years and Burma for 3 years, but , after an unsuccessful operation on a shoulder injury received in a rugby game, was invalided out to Liverpool to receive treatment and to recuperate.

In 1947 he bought a sports shop (known locally as J.J.B’s) in Market Street from John Jarvis Broughton (the original JJB) a cricket professional for Wigan Cricket Club and cricket coach of the boys at School. He then went to Oxford University and graduated in geography.

Mr T. H. Walker, head of geography at School , persuaded John in 1951 to take up an appointment in his department as Mr Denning was on a long drawn-out jury service. This temporary appointment continued until 1958 when he retired to devote more of his time to his business interests.

He will be remembered as a teacher with strong discipline and a sense of humour. One of his favourite topics in geography explained the differences of climate between the south of Wigan and Standish – this, he hoped, would discourage any team member who might be put off by a heavy outburst of fog affecting the bus service between the two areas.

John had a major influence in the sporting activities of the School, especially rugby and cricket. He devoted many hours to rugby coaching and to arranging fixtures and travelling to matches with other schools. The tour to Germany he organised with Mr Savigny in 1952 – an unforgettable experience for those fortunate enough to be in the senior XV at the time. Dedicated was his support and encouragement for those taking part in representative trials and seven-a-side competitions; in 1954 the School reached the semi-finals of the Manchester sevens and the final of the Fylde competition.

Analysing sporting techniques and assessing an opponent’s weaknesses were John’s forte, never more so than on the cricket field. Dick Pollard, of Lancashire and England, shared with him the cricket coaching of the School and Wigan Cricket Club in the 1950’s. Those coached by John remember his discipline and enthusiasm and will be forever grateful to him for arousing their interest and developing their skills in rugby and cricket.