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A tribute to Sir John Johnson KCMG (1930 – 2018)

Monday 12 November 2018

Sir John, as he was always called, both out of courtesy and affection, was a passionate champion of the Chiltern Hills. Home, after a career in the diplomatic service, was Old Amersham, the ideal base from which to explore the Chilterns of which there was no part he did not know intimately. 

He was the first chairman of the Chilterns Conservation Board (2004 -2010) having been chairman of its precursor, the so-called Shadow Board from 2001. Prior to that he had been vice chairman of the Chilterns Conference since 1995. All the while he had been a Vice President of The Chiltern Society. Nobody was more involved in the conservation of the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or more enthusiastic about encouraging local people and visitors to enjoy it. We could not have wished for a better champion, leader, mentor and friend.

Sir John Nov 02
Sir John Johnson KCMG (1930 – 2018)

Sir John hailed from Manchester where he attended the Grammar School and then went up to Keble College, Oxford. A long and distinguished career followed as a diplomat including appointments as High Commissioner in Zambia and his beloved Kenya, for which he was knighted. As a lifelong walker who completed all the Munros he was an ideal choice as chairman of the Countryside Commission (1991 -1995). It was during his tenure that he took a direct interest in the well-being of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty then considered forgotten Cinderella's to the better-known National Parks. Stemming from that time all AONBs now have staff, overseeing organisations and much enhanced funding; it’s little wonder he was held in such high esteem across the country by all those who knew what a difference he had made.

He always found time for his Chilterns’ duties despite holding a raft of honorary positions which included President of the Long Distance Walker’s Association and The Friends of the Lake District, vice president of the Youth Hostels Association and, most importantly to him, The Chiltern Society.  

He will be sadly missed but his legacy is enormous and will be long lasting for which we, residents, visitors and lovers of The Chiltern Hills, will remember him fondly and with enormous gratitude.

Steve Rodrick
Ret’d Chief Officer (1994- 2015)
Chilterns Conservation Board

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