James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

John's interests & his death

A Governor of Chellaston School and, like his father, a Governor of Repton, he served on many committees over the years including those for various charitable foundations. His offices included Chairman of the East Midlands Museum Service and President of the East Midlands branch of the Royal British Legion. He was particularly interested in planning and conservation and was Vice Chairman of the Derbyshire Historic Building Trust, which he had helped to found. This involved work on many large and costly projects – the stained glass in the swimming baths at Buxton nearly ruined the Trust – but his favourite was the railway cottages in Derby. The Trust had saved more than one hundred classic Victorian railway cottages, which were restored as desirable homes and sold at a profit, the occupants being proud of their historic significance - If any of them decided to paint their front door yellow instead of LMS colours, the neighbours would be up in arms, John said in an interview.

Another of John’s great interests was sport, particularly country sports; he was a fervent believer in blood sports and marched in the 1998 countryside rally. For twenty years he ran a 2,000 acre shoot which took up every Saturday of the season, always ending with good food and a drink at a pub. He was a devotee of the Twickenham rugby sevens and a member of the MCC. He was also a great dog-lover and would sit in his grandfather's old leather chair nursing his moulting Labradors.

A member of Derbyshire Police Authority, he died on Monday, 6 December 1999 at the county Police Headquarters in Ripley where he was helping conduct interviews for the post of Assistant Chief Constable; a series of eye operations in his last months probably took their toll on his heart.

Following his death the tributes from colleagues of all parties showed genuine warmth, respect and appreciation of his unstinting work for his community. The leader of the Liberal Democrats on the Council said: John devoted a vast amount of time to public service over the years. He was unfailingly friendly and courteous, even though we often took a different view. He managed to earn the respect and affection of almost everyone who worked with him.