John White (1944 - 2021)
John White died on the 29th April 2021. He had served the Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust as Chairman for ten years from 2008 to 2018.
Prior to that John had been Secretary to the Trust for seventeen years. Thanks to him the administration of NHCT evolved with the introduction of appropriate processes for the submission of applications and for their assessment. At the same time, the period when John was Secretary saw a significant increase in the awareness of the work of the Trust and much greater engagement with churches and chapels throughout the county.
Taking over as Chairman, John led the Trust in his own unassuming way, and with good humour and inclusivity. He always recognised the contribution of others and placed his trust in those who served the organisation. And so, with this combination of sound administrative processes and procedures, along with respect for all the volunteers, he created a highly effective County Trust which now regularly distributes in excess of £50k to churches and chapels across Northamptonshire.
John also raised awareness of the Trust and the importance of its work in the County - talking to various groups and organisations, and persuading people to support more widely than just their own church. His membership of the Diocesan Advisory Committee for the Care of Churches (of which he was Chairman for twelve years) complemented his role on NHCT. John always sought to make churches welcoming and accessible, and a resource for the whole community - balancing the needs and interests of the 21st century with the rightful priorities and concerns for conservation.
That belief helped shape a Trust that was highly successful in raising funds to support small and burdened congregations in the essential repair work needed to save their church. It was also a Trust in which everyone's contribution was recognised and in which everyone was welcome. John led by example, always participating, along with Jane, in the annual Ride and Stride. And so many benefitted from his vast knowledge of, and love for, the churches and chapels of Northamptonshire.
Devoted to his adopted county, John White was, nevertheless, born in Ilkeston in Derbyshire, and was educated at Nottingham High School. He read History at Downing College Cambridge, switching to Law in his last year. Joining the predecessor of Hewitsons as a trainee, he remained with the firm, through its various mergers and re-brandings, for his whole career, retiring as a partner some twelve years ago.
Beyond work, John had various charitable involvements and was a committed member of the church community at St Peter, Weston Favell, where he served for many years as Secretary to the PCC, to which he brought, with great benefit, his legal and drafting skills.
John was married to Jane for fifty years, and fittingly for such a strong family man, his death came on the day of their Golden Wedding. In addition, he is survived by their two daughters and five grandchildren.
John found his reward in the expressions of thanks from the churches that NHCT had been able to help. All who care for the historic churches of this county will remain in his debt.