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Written by Christopher Apps (H/A. 1942-46)
Saturday, 05 June 2004

John Frederick Bolding was born on 11 March 1909, and he died peacefully at Poole on Saturday 5 June 2004 at the age of 95. 

A tribute to John Frederick Bolding (C. 1923-27) given by Christopher Apps (H/A. 1942-46) at Poole Crematorium on Thursday 17 June 2004:

John was educated at Brighton College where he entered Chichester House in 1923 at the same time as the late Clifford Jeapes with whom he became a lifelong friend. At the same time the late George Garnham entered School House at the College. John’s passing is therefore the end of a remarkable era of a very loyal and dedicated trio of friends and Old Brightonians who made a wonderful contribution to their school, its Lodge and society.

John left the College in 1927 to join the family business of Bolding & Sons.

In December 1932 he and Clifford Jeapes were initiated into the Old Brightonian Lodge No 4104 on the same evening at the Old Ship Hotel in Brighton.

After war service in the Royal Artillery he returned to the family business in which he became Chairman and Managing Director until his retirement in 1966.

I often reminded John that he was the only person I knew who had an indelible memorial in the Freemasons Hall (and some other well known buildings in London), as whenever you went into any of the many washrooms the name of Bolding & Sons was indelibly inscribed on the back of all the wash basins and other sanitary ware.

He and the others revived the Old Brightonian Lodge after the war and John became Master in 1948. For his services he was promoted to be a Past Provinicial Junior Grand Warden of Sussex in 1983. He was a very dedicated member of the Lodge and rarely missed any of its meetings or other functions during his 70 years of service to the Lodge, which we recognised in 2002.

When he was no longer able to attend our meetings he was elected as an Honorary Member of the OB Lodge. He was also a Freeman and Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Plaisteres.

Throughout his life he was a most generous and kind man. His charitable works were numerous and included being a Life Governor of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which he supported through his love of sailing. This was one of the interests not shared with his friend Clifford Jeapes who was once taken out by John in his yacht. It was reliably reported that he was not a sailor, and was not happy until he was returned to terra firma on a calm day in Poole harbour. John was a member of Parkstone Yacht Club for many years and his boat was regularly used as the committee boat.

He was also a member of the Susssex Motor Yacht Club from which he only resigned last year in order to make way for another member, which was typical.

He was a bachelor for most of his life but in retirement he married Irene. Their happiness together ended sadly with her death in 1993. At the age of 92 John developed meningitis from which he made a remarkable recovery but was no longer able to look after himself. He had the remarkable good fortune to be looked after by Susan James from Bristol with loving care and attention. John was very fond of her and felt that she was like a daughter whom he never had.

John will be remembered by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him as a very kind and gentle man. Having known him for almost two thirds of his life I think I can best conclude by quoting Duncan’s words from Shakspeare’s “Macbeth”:

"He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust."

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