MUCH loved and fondly remembered Bournemouth School teacher William 'John' Hawkins died after a short illness on February 2, aged 76.

Mr Hawkins, known to many pupils as 'Happy Harry', joined the school in 1961 as a chemistry teacher. Over the next 40 years he went on to become the department head in 1975, a housemaster and in the early 1980s he was appointed deputy headteacher.

During his time at the Charminster-based grammar school he became loved by pupils and colleagues alike for his cheerful, friendly character and obvious enthusiasm for teaching and school life.

He played an active role in school sports and plays and also served on the committee of the Old Bournemouthians Association, helping to arrange events and acting as president of the Old Boy's Cricket Club.

In later years he worked as the school's examinations officer.

Mr Hawkins was born in April 1938, and had vivid memories of his early school days in London being interrupted by air raid sirens.

He was a self-reliant boy, who enjoyed spending summer holidays at his family's rural small holding near Kingsworthy.

He had a grammar school education, becoming a prefect and taking on responsibilities over his classmates, and studied at Southampton University.

At that time he lived at the YMCA where some of his fellow lodgers poured Guinness on their cornflakes.

When he started working at Bournemouth School he was not given a laboratory and had to carry a large suitcase full of equipment and chemicals around from room to room.

For many pupils he will be most strongly remembered for exuberant physical displays and dances intended to demonstrate the movement of molecules in a memorable fashion.

On taking on the role of Head of Chemistry Mr Hawkins retained his cheerful disposition, despite the extra workload.

For years he was the First XI umpire, he refereed football games and, outside school, he was a member of Hampshire Cricket Club where he would 'help' legendary cricket correspondent John Arlott drink the wine he always brought to the AGM in a Gladstone bag.

He served as the local president of the National Union of Teachers, and was a committed Christian.

He was a regular worshipper for more than 50 years at St Alban's Church, Bournemouth, also acting as chairman of the parochial church council.

He did much to help charitable organisations throughout his life, including the homeless of Michael House and Springbourne Family Centre.

A thanksgiving service will be held in his memory at St Alban's Church, in Linwood Road, at 12pm on Saturday, April 11.