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News > Community > John Gibbs (FH 56-61) Retirement Letter

John Gibbs (FH 56-61) Retirement Letter

Please see below a letter from Headmaster James Priory and Old Tonbridgian Society Chairman Richard Hough on the retirement of John Gibbs.
12 Jan 2024
Written by Natasha Korol
OTS Chairman, Richard Hough, John Gibbs and Headmaster James Priory
OTS Chairman, Richard Hough, John Gibbs and Headmaster James Priory



Dear Old Tonbridgian

The OT Community will wish to know that after 55 years of dedicated service to Tonbridge, John Gibbs has now retired from School life.

Although his classroom teaching ended several years ago, John has remained an important part of the School community through his support of rackets and other sports, and through the OT Society. The OTS Committee recognised his service by appointing him OT Honorary Life President in September 2021, making John the first OT to receive such an honour.

John’s long relationship with Tonbridge began as a boy in Ferox Hall (1956-61), a very happy time for him, and continued when he returned to the School as a member of the teaching staff in 1969. Tonbridge has benefitted greatly from John’s loyalty and expertise over the years with him taking on various roles including Housemaster of Park House, Teacher of Classics and Business Studies, OT Secretary, and as a dedicated coach of rugby, cricket and rackets. 

Some of you will be aware that John has been struggling with his memory over recent years. The School has been mindful of this and has been supporting John. After his retirement from School life we will help John’s family with future support that he will need. John will continue to be warmly welcomed to School and OT events as befits his status as a well-respected OT and retired member of staff.

We are sure that many of you will have memories of John, and stories that you may wish to share.  We will be collating these, along with any photos you may have, into a collection for him to enjoy.  Please email them to, or post them to Tara Biddle, Tonbridge School, Tonbridge, TN9 1JP.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Tonbridge Society team at



James Priory                                                                      Richard Hough

Headmaster                                                                       OTS Chairman

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