Family was John's greatest happiness

John Sutherland. (s)
John Sutherland. (s)

A man who survived a Second World War bombing which killed his mother when he was just four years old has died at the age of 80.

John Sutherland was born in Liverpool on July 4th, 1936, the fifth child of John and Gertrude.

A bomb ripped through the family home in 1940, killing John’s mother. John and his four siblings were rescued from the destroyed building.

With his father in the navy, it was decided that John’s sisters would stay with an aunt, while John and his brothers went to live in St Vincent’s orphanage in Preston.

Called up for national service at the age of 18, John spent a great deal of time in Malaysia. After completing his national service, John married June in 1963 and the family was joined soon after by daughter Julie. Son Ian followed a few years later, completing their family.

John was a man of many trades for several years, but nothing suited him more than working with young people. So, when an opportunity arose to work for the Children’s Society, himself and June relished the chance to make a difference. This meant the family living in residential children’s homes.

The entire family moved to Clitheroe in the early 1980s when John and June took their new appointment at St Deny’s children’s home in Pimlico Road. John felt that every young person mattered and he wanted them to have a safe and secure place to call home. The couple had an excellent team of staff and John and June did a fantastic job, illustrated by so many of the young people they looked after have stayed in touch over the years.

John said his greatest happiness in life came from his family and this was evident in recent years with the arrival of his four grandchildren.

John enjoyed nothing more than a family party and celebrated his 80th birthday surrounded by family and friends last summer in his beautiful and cherished garden.

John’s family have received many words of condolence since he died, but identified one shining representation of his personality, from Billy Gerald his brother-in-law and friend: “John was a wonderful man who loved and treasured his family. He dedicated himself to making June happy and he enjoyed every day of his life from the moment he met her all those years ago.”