The Prescotian Webzine

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It is with great sadness that we report the death of John Parkinson following a short illness. John's funeral will take place in Prescot, Merseyside, on March 4. His family have asked that any donations in John's memory should be payable to Cancer Research UK, or to the St Helens Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Any such donations should be sent to Mr Geoff Almond, 9 Padstow Drive, Windle, St Helens, Merseyside. Letters of condolence should be directed to John's mother, Mrs Joyce Parkinson at 38 Egerton Road, Prescot, Merseyside.

John Parkinson studied law at Oxford. Before coming to Bristol he qualified as a solicitor, and practised for a short time with Freshfields in London. He was appointed Professor of Law at Bristol in 1995.

He was a member of the DTI's Company Law Review Steering Group that undertook a fundamental review of company law and reported in 2001.

He was a member of a DTI working group devising guidance on the concept of materiality in relation to the Operating & Financial Review. [From The Bristol School of Law Prospectus Website]

[Photo from 1970 provided by Paul Gerrard]

My wife Jane and I were deeply shocked to hear of the sudden death of our good friend John Parkinson. John and I met at Oliver Lyme Road in 1959 and became firm friends through Infant, Primary Schools, and PGS. He, Andrew Griffiths, David (M) Evans and I went to Chester Law School after University. John then joined a top firm of London solicitors but left to take up a life in university teaching.

John was an eminent, well respected, company lawyer and his elevation to Professor of Law at Bristol was well deserved. He dedicated his life to the Law, the University and to his students and their welfare.

John enjoyed life and we remained firm friends throughout. We met up with him regularly and shared familiar stories about the 'old days'. We spoke often of Andrew Griffiths, David Evans, Stuart Duncan, 'Johns' Rigby, Mercer, Moses, and Dean (aka Agostini), Ade Caesar, Ronnie Padmore, and teachers such as Wild Bill Rimmer, Neil Charnley, 'Bugsy' Burrows, and 'Charlie' Middlehurst. John always loved Prescot and PGS. His mother, sister and brother-in-law still live locally.

My family and I will miss John. He has left a hole in all our hearts. Our deepest condolences are sent to his family. [Kevin Gorman]

I am greatly shocked and saddened by the death of John. A light has been extinguished... [Pete Griffiths]

I started school with John Parkinson at Oliver Lyme Road infants school (3 years from 1958) then Maryville Road Primary (4 years) then on of course to PGS. John lived in Thomas Drive, Prescot, which most locals would know is down on the High Hill estate off Cross Lane. His house was right outside the number 96/97X bus stop, I lived initially in Coronation Drive, then later Cross Lane, so we caught the same bus on many occasions. He and I were both stamp collectors, although John's collection was far better than mine, and I went round to his house on quite a few occasions.
A quiet, studious lad, John was not much into sport, so our school lives crossed rarely. I recall that his father died in, I think, 1964, and we held a collection of sorts amongst his classmates and bought him a model car, Corgi or Dinky.

In those primary school years, John was your basic middle of the road student, not much to indicate his later prowess at PGS. I spent four years at or near the top of the class, but John seemed to leap past me at grammar school  as did a few others! I recall John being hauled out in front of class to solve some Maths problem and having his head banged on the blackboard by the then headmaster Mr Allison and sending the teacher Mrs Hodgson into floods of tears.

He and I and Kevin Gorman were made prefects in the final year, Kev being head boy. I have the photo somewhere, I'll dig it out and post it on site.

If I remember correctly, after the first year at PGS, when we took classes in forms, we were streamed into sets, 1 to 4. I believe John made Set 1 in everything but Maths, but went on to be the first boy to be offered a scholarship at Brasenose College  somebody please correct me if I'm wrong!

Over the last few years, I have made contact with many former PGS pupils, including quite a few from our Maryville Primary days. John and I swapped emails in July 2001, and while he still had all the albums, he was no longer a stamp collector  a case of "philately will get you nowhere"!

It's always a shock when one of your comtemporaries passes away, especially at such a young age, John would have been either 48 or close to 49. Alan Okell, also from that era, passed away over ten years ago. From our primary school days, I know that former PGS pupils Geoff Sumner, Chris Trimnell, George & Gordon Stirling, Dave Allanson, Kevin Gorman, Dave Lawrenson, Peter Griffiths, Stephen Birchall and others I just don't recall at the moment will be stunned to hear this news, and we would all like to pass on our regards to John's family. [Paul Gerrard]

I am saddened by the news of the premature death of John Parkinson. I knew John from his primary school days at Maryville Road, and throughout his PGS schooling. I too remember his father dying when John was very young. We lost touch after our school days, but thanks to the Prescotian, I shared an e-mail conversation with John several months ago. He was very appreciative of the contact. I remember John had an older sister. I would like to re-iterate the comments of Paul Gerrard who has kindly included several of Johns former 'peer' group in his memories of John. My sympathies to his family and friends. (If anyone gets any further details of his death could they e-mail me - thanks) [Geoff Sumner]

I came to know John well at PGS before I left in 1971, but our paths later crossed again in Oxford and London. We were trainee solicitors (or "articled clerks" in those days) in the late 1970's and shared a flat with some others, overlooking Harringay Dog Stadium. John did not take to life in a City firm of solicitors. Soon after qualifying, he left London for Bristol University and became a Professor there in 1995.

He took A levels in English, History and Economics and studied these subjects under such PGS legends as Charlie Middlehurst, Howard Thomas, Alfie Baxter, Mike Harvey, Ray Elmer and Brian Grice. He was also an editor of the Prescotian. He obtained straight A's in his A levels at a time when that was rare. He won an open scholarship to Oxford and graduated with first class honours in 1976. Despite having to sit the final exams in the traditional academic dress in the heatwave of that year, he won the prize for having the best results in the whole year.

He became one of the UK's leading experts on Company Law and was the leading "alternative" Company Lawyer. In 1995, Oxford University Press published his book on Corporate Social Responsibility, which was a pioneering and widely-acclaimed work. He advocated a "stakeholder-oriented" approach to Company Law and capitalism long before these ideas became fashionable.His work was inspired in part by his concern at the fate of BICC and there was an old photograph of the factory in its heyday on the cover of the paperback edition. His book was a great success and won a national prize.

His reputation as a Company Lawyer was second to none and this led to his involvement in the DTI's "Company Law Review" Reform programme. He balanced his own idealism with a keen practical sense of what could be achieved in reality (and under the present Government). The Review's recommendations (which the Government has largely accepted, though not yet implemented)and the proposals for the Operating & Financial Review for public companies (which he was working on before his death) have taken Company Law reform much further forward than many thought possible.

He was a popular lecturer and an excellent public speaker. His lectures were noted for their clarity, good humour and a well-deployed sarcastic wit, which perhaps reflected a good PGS tradition. He had been due to give a keynote lecture at a major conference in Australia this month

His untimely death has come as a great shock. He was admired and will be greatly missed by many. A leading law publisher in Oxford has remarked that it is a great loss not just for Company Law, but for the Law in general. [Andrew Griffiths]

"Parky" was in my year at school and I still have a clear mental picture of the quiet lad with the rye sense of humour. Strangely, John Dean and I were only recently talking about Parky, a lad that John described as being a "natural lawyer". His career to date seems to bear testimony to this description.

Any recollections and stories would, I'm sure, be warmly welcomed. For now, though, I'm just very saddened by the awful news of his premature death. [Ken Holt]

I too remember John,as a very dedicated academic,totally focused on his aspiration to become a solicitor. I last met him in the Ship in Rainhill when he was up from London. He mentioned that the law firm that he was working for dealt with the Beatles legal business. Sad news indeed. [Steve Chapman]

"Parky" was in our House (Lambda) and I remember him as a quiet, studious lad who was always destined for academic success. I recall he was most friendly with the "two Jeffs" (Mullins and Oakes). Sad news and a powerful reminder of one's mortality! [Loz]

This is very sad news indeed. I had not spoken to John for a good few years now but he is rightly remembered as a studious, good natured chap with a dry sense of humour. He certainly scaled the academic and professional heights and was obviously very well respected by everybody. My abiding memory of him is that John, John Moses and I all visited Germany (1972) to study the architecture of the Rhinelands. We did very little of this, at least I didn't, and John wrote it all up for Weekesy afterwards. [John Dean]
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