John Collins  5th May 1927 – 28 December 2020

John Collins sadly died just after Christmas Day. This page is devoted to John who was a good friend to many of us as well as a major contributor to the learning of early generations of BGS pupils.

Please see below a few words from David Jones and then a link to a tribute from Don Wellman.

If any Old Bexleian  would like to offer photos for the gallery or to write a personal tribute for the site please email   your contribution to Or if you would like to leave a brief comment do so via the link at the foot of the page.

David Jones writes

 Soon after arriving at BGS in the Autumn Term of 1976, Jan and I were invited to a party at the home of Marjorie and Ron Sawyer in Erith. This was where we first met John and, I believe, his wife. His stature within the school community was very apparent and many of us were delighted when he agreed to return, on a part-time basis, to teach in the late 1970’s.

After my retirement, and whilst Jan was still teaching, he agreed to accompany me in travelling abroad : to Australia [1996], Canada [1997], New Zealand and Australia [1998] and to Canada and the USA [1999]. And he joined Jan and I on holidays to Ireland [1995, 2000] and Cyprus [2001].

John described himself as a teacher of Maths i.e. not as a Mathematician – but with, also, a great interest in Geography. This made me consider myself as a teacher of Geography and Economics  i.e. not as a Geographer and even less as an Economist. In turn, I’d always had an interest in [rather low-level] Mathematics.

We had a number of adventures overseas. When we were in both Australia and New Zealand , he’d arranged to meet up with former BGS pupils – delighted to be able to chat to him again. In New Zealand, we visited the home of one of his former BGS colleagues. 

The 1944 Education Act which, from Autumn 1947, had given free secondary education to all. In post-war Kent, Bexley pupils had very few opportunities for ‘selective’ education – hence a Bexley Grammar School was a top priority for the County. John and his brother Peter were amongst the first staff group at BGS to rise to the challenge; it was to their great credit that they succeeded so well.

John became the best friend I’d had since my own schooldays. I find it impossible to describe, adequately, just how much his friendship meant to me – and over so many years.’ David Jones.

Don Wellman has written this tribute. Click to open. John Collins Tribute  

The gallery contains photos sent by Pete Spall and Gillian Edwards.

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