29th November 1937-29th August 2023
On 29th November 1937, John & Mary Peregrine of Penybryn, Penrhiwceiber, welcomed into the world the youngest of their four children, John. He grew up bilingual, speaking Welsh with his mother and English with his father in the strong, close-knit coal-mining community of Penrhiwceiber, going to infant & junior school there and also Carmel Chapel, (no doubt to atone for any mischief caused by the “Penybryn Gang” of children!). Despite quite an age gap between John and his older siblings, he was close to his sister and two brothers and, from the age of 10, became a fun-loving uncle who doted on his nephew and nieces.
Whilst at Mountain Ash Grammar School, he met Carol; she was also from Penrhiwceiber but lived in Church Street. She was also “church” not “chapel”!
At 18, John left for University and Teacher Training College at Caerleon, where he continued his love of playing rugby with the College Rugby Club.
His first job was back in ‘Ceiber, at the Secondary School, where his pupils included some of Carol’s family!
John & Carol married, and both had teaching jobs in Calne, Wiltshire, where their 3 children, David, Gareth & Sarah were born. They remained in Calne for 12 years, where John was a member of the rugby club, joined the local folk music club and even became a confirmed member of the Church of England! (Don’t tell his mother).
As the children came of school age, John’s longing to return to Wales brought them here, to Beguildy, where he took up his role as Headmaster in the local Primary school. Although the locals spoke no Welsh, the “hwyl” was most definitely here and Rhayader Male Voice Choir was nearby, where John was a member for over 30 years.
During their time in Beguildy, John & Carol made many close friends and were so contented living in this community that they forgot their plan to stay for 5 years and were here for over 40 years!
As well as being Headmaster, John played a full role within this close community: in the church, the Village Hall in nearby Felindre, the Young Farmers Club, the Youth Club with Rev. Elwyn John, as well as founding Tref Y Clawdd Rugby Football Club in Knighton, again with Rev. Elwyn John and also Geraint Lewis.
Everyone here today knows the part John played in this community and will have their own memories and stories, which I’m sure you will all be recalling later, as you chat.
Carol and the family have received so many messages, which have brought back memories, as well as great comfort, including:
“He had such an impact on our lives-in school and out of school”.
“Wonderful memories of John from my primary school days-especially Sports Day with whistle and tracksuit”.
“His enthusiasm, his integrity, his kindness, but always insistence on exacting standards, rightly earned him the respect of those lucky enough to have been taught by him”.
“John gave us the best time at Beguildy School: we could all fly over the horse in P.E, school trips went on for days, we swam our way through the summer, and I loved him reading a story at the end of the day, in particular ‘Stig of the Dump’”.
“It’s a family phrase for doing something fun, to say “Right-bring your sledges in tomorrow!””
(On that note: many thanks to the local farmer who never complained about the use of his field for school sledging lessons-an important part of John’s P.E. curriculum).
John will always be remembered as a fun-loving, dedicated & compassionate man, who brought his wonderful humour & kindness to many lives. He will be hugely missed and remembered by all his family and many, many friends.
Thank you, John, from us all.
John’s family would like to thank everyone who was able to join them for the service at St. Michael’s, whilst appreciating it wasn’t possible for some.
Thank you to both Petra and Rev. Mike Wishart, as well as many others who helped make this possible.
They would also like to thank old friends and past pupils for the many messages they have received over the past weeks, as well as the many happy years spent in the Teme Valley. The kind words, as well as memories recalled, have brought them great comfort.