A CHARITY football match has been arranged as a fitting tribute to a much-loved teacher and sports fanatic.
The game will be played on a modern synthetic pitch at Durham Johnston School, which John Sinclair campaigned to have included in the school’s £25m rebuild.
Mr Sinclair, 66, who lived in Durham, died in St Cuthbert’s Hospice in the city last month, and the match has been arranged by his friends to raise money for the hospice.
He was a Newcastle United season ticket holder and had also been a Football League linesman and Northern League referee. Though he’d qualified in history and geography, John took PE at his first school, Brandon secondary, because no qualified teacher was available.
When Brandon closed he moved to Whinney Hill and, on amalgamation, to Durham Johnston school, where he spent the rest of his career and helped the school win several FA awards.
An FA qualified coach for more than 40 years, his particular interest was in developing girls’ football. Last year the school’s Under 13s won the Girls Premier League tournament at Old Trafford in Manchester, and though John was too unwell to travel, he kept in constant touch by telephone.
“There was a huge celebration after Old Trafford,” said former head of PE Les Johnson.
“John had an amazing rapport with the kids. All they were bothered about was that they’d done it for Mr Sinclair.
“He still wasn’t officially a PE teacher, he just did it for the love of it in his spare time. You don’t get many teachers like that nowadays.”
John had also been chairman of the Durham Central School Athletics Association.
Friend Paul Salkeld said St Cuthbert’s Hospice supported him throughout his illness and provided respite care for John and his wife Lesley.
He said: “John was a gentlemen with admirable morals and values and was a teacher who commanded respect from all. Others will have had the pleasure of being friends with John outside of school and will know the joy he brought to those around him with his cracking sense of humour.”
Durham Johnston headteacher Carolyn Roberts said: “John campaigned tirelessly for the best synthetic surface to be included in our rebuilding, and won us a 3G pitch.”
The football match will take place on September 13 at 6pm, at Durham Johnston School. A team of past students has been selected to represent his pupils and will play against teachers from Durham Johnston, past and present. The event will not be ticketed and collections will be made on arrival from all spectators.
St Cuthbert’s Hospice provides expert care and support to people with life-limiting illnesses and their families, free of charge. In order to continue their work, the hospice must raise at least £4,000 every day through donations and fundraising.
To raise money for St Cuthbert’s Hospice, please use the following web link or donate at the charity match: