The Old Wellingtonian Lodge was sorry to lose one of our longest standing and devoted servants, John Jehu Ross Barnard, at the age of 83. He died on 2 November 2022.
John was born in 1939, the son of Capt J K Ross Barnard. He was in the Anglesey from 1953, a Foundationer.
This detail taken from an Anglesey House photograph shows JRB in his first year at College, and is courtesy of the Wellington College Archives:
On leaving College he joined the well known London Department Store, Selfridges, but very quickly found his true calling on the airwaves as a DJ and later as a broadcast and media professional.
John had a long and successful media career, starting on the early pirate station Radio Invicta, whose broadcasts where made from extremely rudimentary premises on an anti-aircraft fort off-shore (and relived by him in a chapter of Keith Skues’s book Pop Went The Pirates).
Known variously as JRB, Larry Pannell, Pete Ross and Peter Barraclough, he moved on to King Radio, then to the much better equipped Radio 390. 1966 saw him at Britain Radio (the “hallmark of quality” station). He also read the news on its Top 40 sister station, “Swinging” Radio England.
After the upheaval in the UK radio industry bought about by the combination of the Pirate stations and the public demand, he went straight, joining the BBC as a television continuity announcer. Since then he has held a number of posts including head of BBC Video, chief executive of Coventry Cable Television, managing director of Satellite Media Services and then becoming a broadcasting consultant. Perhaps as a balance to his activities as a [media] pirate, JRB also served as a Justice of the Peace for many years until forced to retire earlier than necessary by the imposed age limit. It was as part of his consulting role that he helped establish the broadcast media regulator in post-civil war Bosnia-Herzegovina.
John joined this Lodge in 1991 having been initiated in Coventry Foundation Lodge No 4543 in 1988. He served the OW Lodge for 30 years, being Master in 1996 and serving as Secretary for eight years. He also created this, the Lodge’s website, one of the earlier examples of a lodge presence online, appropriately enough for a man who was both a broadcast journalist and Lodge secretary.
He was made SLGR in 2016 and was a PAGDC in Warwickshire before being promoted PPJGW in the same year as his SLGR. He was a keen supporter of the PSLC in general and both the Public Schools’ Installed Masters Lodge and the Public Schools’ Chapter No 2233, having been exalted into Coventry Foundation Chapter in 1990.
He was also a member of the Chelsea Lodge No 3098, Collegiate Lodge No 9943, and Public Schools’ Installed Masters Lodge No 9077.
He was a keen mason beyond the Craft and in his own words was “a member of practically everything” at some stage. The Ross Barnard family have also supported our lodge as visitors, occasional ritualists, friends and welcome guests. JRB’s wife Connie is also a keen mason.
John passed away peacefully after a short illness with his family by his side: His wife of 62 years Constance, his children Beverley, Niall and Fiona and Son- and daughter-in-Law to Dave and Dora. He was grandfather to Tristan, Amy, Charlie, Annie, Sammi and Tim and great grandfather to Billy, Riley and Savannah.
John would want the final words of this all too short and inadequate tribute to be…