I first met John in about 1983 at a Hertfordshire County Music Viola Day with Harry Danks; little did I know at that point what a lasting influence he was to be later in life.
The next time I met John was at an Associated Board post grade 8 assessment, after which I decided to study with him. He saw me through a formative time with National Youth Orchestra, as my teacher at the Royal Academy of Music and viola section coach with the European Community Youth Orchestra, offering constant help, support and encouragement throughout. John was also responsible for suggesting I form a duo with the violinist Marianne Thorsen which was later to become the basis of the Leopold String Trio. So, I have an awful lot to be thankful to John for.
After my time at the RAM John became even more of a mentor, advisor and friend, often giving invaluable advice about the profession, viola matters and always being supportive about the tribulations of life in general.
John was always modest and humble with impeccable Yorkshire values, and yet he was passionately committed to promoting the viola, both in terms of performance, teaching, and his musical and literary publications. He was always incredibly generous in the way he shared this with others.
One of his most memorable attributes was his utter integrity in all that he did.
I often think what an incredible achievement he made, coming from a humble coal-mining family background, and what utter dedication and drive he must have had to achieve what he did. He often said himself that he could not have done so without the fantastic support from his family, and in particular his wife Carol.
For me, its impossible to separate out John the person from John the musician as he was so passionately devoted to the cause of the viola. His enthusiasm and positive energy were infectious and a huge inspiration to many; he must have touched the lives of thousands of people and we all owe so much to him.