John Russell Metcalfe (C3 1947-52)

Following in their father’s footsteps, John and his younger brother Peter (C3 1950-55) attended Marlborough where John revelled in all aspects of life there: teaching, sport, access to the Marlborough Downs, and making lifelong friends including David Chandler (C3 1947-52) and Michael Sackett (C3 1947-53).

After Marlborough, he went to Downing College, Cambridge to read Natural Sciences and developed his interest in entomology, as well as furthering his outdoor interests – hockey, sailing, hill walking, and even rowing in a modest way.

John then took the Diploma of Imperial College, and the Diploma in Tropical Agriculture from the Imperial College of Tropical Agriculture in Trinidad, the training ground for the (then) Colonial Agricultural Service. His first posting was as Government Entomologist in Barbados, where he also played hockey for Barbados, sang in the cathedral choir, and took part in amateur dramatics. Next, in Jamaica, he worked as a sugar industry entomologist, specialising in biological control of sugar cane pests.

Returning to the UK with his first wife, Denise, and their son Paul, John taught ecology at Bangor University in North Wales. He then joined the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, at the Institute of Entomology at the Natural History Museum in London. John oversaw the computerisation of many scientific abstract journals and in 1993, John became Managing Director of the International Food Information Service (IFIS), finally retiring in 1998.

John travelled widely all over the world and served on many international committees. He revelled in the outdoors, introducing his children (Paul, Michael, Timothy and Natalie) to a love of nature. Later, with his second wife Margot, whom he married in 1988. Post-retirement adventures took them to Nepal, Bhutan, Mexico, Galapagos, and Egypt.

Dorchester Abbey offered new challenges, as Secretary to the Parochial Church Council, and as volunteer project manager for an ambitious 10 year £4 million restoration project. John’s pride and joy was the Cloister Gallery, displaying stones from the pre-Reformation Abbey and longlisted for the Gulbenkian arts prize in 2006. John also chaired Dorchester Abbey Museum, during which time the museum achieved accreditation, and worked with Oxford University and Oxford Archaeology on a 10 year excavation of the village allotments. He was appointed MBE for services to Dorchester Abbey.