A PROMINENT Island educationalist and cricket coach, John Hilsum, has died.
Mr Hilsum grew up in a small village in rural Hampshire, Kilmeston, with his parents, Dorothy and Len, and his sister, Anne.
He began his sporting career playing football for Cheriton and represented several cricket teams in the Hampshire area, including Petersfield.
It was during this time he met his wife, Margaret, in Southampton. They married in 1966.
Mr Hilsum had many jobs as a young man, including a goldsmith and woodwork furniture maker.
However, he had always planned to go into teaching and he attended teaching training college in Winchester. Subsequently he furthered his education in Leicester, where he got a BA in education.
He then studied for an MA in education at Keele and while in Leicester, he continued to hone his cricketing skills with Hinckley.
He moved to the Island in 1972, to take up a role at the Island teachers’ centre and also worked at Ventnor Middle School as a design and technology teacher.
He ran the teachers’ centre in Newport for many years and went on to work in developing areas, such as Africa and the Caribbean, for the department for international development and the British Council.
He also committed a huge amount of time to his family — his two sons, Richard and Ian, and his daughter, Claire.
He served as a governor and then the chair of governors at St Catherine’s School, Ventnor, for many years.
Mr Hilsum was heavily involved with his local Rotary club, becoming president in 2008 and was subsequently inducted into the Paul Harris Fellowship.
Mr Hilsum was a successful cricket coach, which he loved even more than playing.
He quickly rose up the ranks and became a national staff coach. He helped set up the IW coaches’ association and helped train many generations of Island coaches.
He Joined Ventnor Cricket Club in 1972, and his playing highlights included scoring 1,000 runs in a season three times.
When he retired from playing, he focused on off-field matters for the club and served as chairman for many years.
He led the club into the Hampshire League in 1993, enabling the club to rise through the many divisions to eventually reach the Southern League Gold Division in 2010.
He was a driving force behind a new £1.1 million pavilion and coaching centre at Steephill, which opened in 2003.
This year, Mr Hilsum was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to cricket and the community.