TRIBUTES have been paid to a former college vice principal with a passion for Morris dancing who has lost his battle against cancer.

John Garmston, of Hurworth, served as vice principal of Darlington’s Queen Elizabeth College for 20-years before retiring in 2009.

In February last year he was diagnosed with a brain tumour and despite undergoing chemotherapy and an operation, he died at home on March 26, 2014, at the age of 65.

Loading article content

His son Michael, a teacher at Hurworth School, described him as a determined man who was popular with his colleagues.

“He was very hard-working, very driven and very, very proud of his achievements; he was the first one in his family to go to university and he was proud that he worked his way up," he added.

“I think you will find that not many people at the college would have a bad word to say about him.”

Mr Garmston was a big folk music fan and an enthusiastic member of the Swaledale Morris Men, although his son joked that it was “the social side and the beer” that attracted him to the scene.

Michael, who lost his mother Jean to heart disease in 2010, said he was thankful that his father lived to see him marry his partner Sarah at Middleton Lodge, Richmond, in December.

“I think dad was holding on for the wedding, which is why we had it when we did.

“It was emotional; he gave a speech although he was unsure about it at first, he ended up making everyone in the room cry.”

Mr Garmston was a keen traveller, having visited far flung places such as Goa and Sri Lanka, and had planned to visit Vietnam and Thailand this year in what Michael described as “his trip of a lifetime”.

He was also a member of the SING community choir in Darlington and some of the singers will perform at his wake.

Members of the Swaledale Morris Men will also give a performance following Mr Garmston’s funeral at Darlington Crematorium on Wednesday (April 9) at 11.45am.