A POPULAR Swindon teacher who lived in Milbourne near Malmesbury has died suddenly.

John Hurst was born in Exeter, the only child of Stan and Vera Hurst.

The son of a professional footballer His father was a professional footballer.

He was brought up in Crediton, Devon, and was educated at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School where he excelled in sports.

John , Mr Hurst studied English and history at Lampeter University and represented the University of Wales at football.

It was at Lampeter that he met Daph, the love of his life., whose warmth and beauty he cherished They married in 1970 and moved to Milbourne in 1973 where he lived for the next 41 years. Together they had three children, Kathy, Suzy and Chris.

John taught English at Headlands School from 1973-5, and was head of English at Kingsdown School where he taught from 1975-1984.

He believed passionately in education and was part of a radical generation of teachers who believed in encouraging young people to think independently. Colleagues remember him as gregarious, respected and supportive presence: someone who was always willing to challenge establishment ideas.

John joined the newly-established New College in 1984 until his retirement in 2000. He produced many fine college football teams and in the mid-1990s was instrumental in setting up the Swindon Town FC Youth Academy, which allowed young footballers to continue their education. He fostered similar links between New College and Forest Green Rovers in the late 90s.

Swindon Town’s Football in the Community Trust Manager, Clive Maguire, described John as a "great mentor" whose "knowledge of the game was unquestionable".

After retiring, John built houses with his son, Chris. After Daph died in 2010 his health deteriorated, but he remained a source of strength and stability for his family. From December last year he had been building a garage and extension for daughter Kathy, her husband, Keval, and three grandchildren Dylan, Carys and Seren.

John suffered a heart attack on Saturday, April 26, shortly after watching Exeter City’s last home match with his son. He died later that evening, aged 69.

Through his teaching and building John achieved one of his goals ‘to put something of manself’ into his work: a lasting visual and emotional legacy.

His three children and his three grandchildren survive him. His daughter Suzy is imminently expecting his fourth grandchild. He will be greatly missed. Funeral arrangements have not yet been made, but for details email write@kathyhurst.co.uk or call 01666 824605.