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News > Announcements > Obituaries > J.J.R. COLLINGWOOD (50-55)


15 Mar 2021

Jeremy Collingwood (50-55) died on December 10, 2020 of heart failure, having suffered from Parkinson’s disease for several years. He was 83.

His friend and contemporary Joe Clinch (50-55) writes: “We met as new entrants to Port Jackson Division in September 1950. Those were the days of the character-building early morning runs followed by a cold shower – they say that friendships are often made in adversity! We remained good friends until his death. 

Jeremy stood out from the start. He was always tall for his age but, more importantly, it was as a scholar, sportsman and leader that he excelled. It was no surprise that he should shine in his Scholarship and Advanced Level subjects and secure a place at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge to study Economics and Law. He also stood out on the cricket field, spending three summers in the 1st X1 the last as Captain, and was Chief Cadet Captain of Macquarie Division in his final year.

On leaving Pangbourne he did National Service in the Royal Navy, serving in the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle as a Midshipman. By good chance, we were able to meet up in Malta when I was similarly engaged as a Midshipman in the cruiser HMS Jamaica. In the summer of 1959, we enjoyed a holiday trip together when undergraduates (I was studying at Durham) taking the ferry from Newcastle upon Tyne to Bergen. Then it was a train journey across the mountains of central Norway to Oslo, hitch hiking down the west coast of Sweden to Halsingborg, crossing to Denmark by ferry and then on to Copenhagen. Sweden was not a country which even then encouraged hitch hiking, but on our second day we lucked in when a journalist picked us up – he was writing an article on Swedish tourism. We were only too pleased to provide raw material for this and, to cap his efforts before dropping us off, he treated us to our best meal of the trip! 

Having completed his degree Jeremy joined the UK Overseas Civil Service spending another year at Cambridge undertaking a specialist course. On completion he went to Northern Rhodesia as a District Officer serving until independence in October 1964. Subsequently, he stayed on in independent Zambia, qualifying as a barrister and writing a Criminal Law of East and Central Africa. Later, he undertook successively the roles of Magistrate, Law Lecturer and Head of Law School at the National Institute of Public Administration in Lusaka.  He was to maintain links in Africa for the rest of his life leading teaching missions to South Africa, Uganda, Tanzania, and Zambia.  
Jeremy returned to England in 1970 and joined the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as a Legal Assistant. Before long, he switched direction and was ordained in the Anglican Ministry in 1978, serving as a Rural Dean and Vicar of Holy Trinity Church Bristol and then Christ Church Guildford. He retired to Saffron Walden in 2002 where his ministry work continued almost until his death.  

Jeremy was a successful scholar and author, particularly in retirement, writing many articles and books including well-researched biographies of notable figures in the history of both Guildford and Saffron Walden, and an account of his distant Lake District Collingwood relatives and the Altounyan family into which one of the daughters had married (A Lakeland Saga published in 2012). The children of that marriage were the model for those of the Lakeland Arthur Ransome stories. He donated copies of these books to the College Library. He also maintained his sporting interests, playing tennis to his eighties.

Jeremy married Margaret in 1961 just before his posting to Africa. They had three daughters and five grandchildren. We exchanged Christmas cards with brief family news updates for over 40 years before taking advantage of retirement to meet up again with our respective wives leading to some very happy gatherings together, sometimes linking up with Bob Hill (50-55) and his wife, and on one occasion with Tony Hepworth (50-53) and his partner not long before Tony’s death.  We also had a reunion with some of our contemporaries to share in the College’s 100th birthday celebrations in 2017 when a small group of us visited the College for the first of the Autumn Term Sunday Parades. 

Thanks to the marvels of YouTube, my wife and I were able to share at a distance the moving and beautifully conducted Anglican Funeral Service for Jeremy at St. Mary’s Church, Saffron Walden where his daughters and grandchildren recalled their memories of him. Jeremy was a committed and confident Christian with a life dedicated to service to others, a distinguished scholar and author, and loving husband, father and family man. I am so glad to have known him as a friend for all these years.”

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