The RNLI saves lives at sea.

John Laughton Plant

Picture of John Laughton Plant.

John was born on 20th July 1931, and brought up in an Orphanage in Dudley, Staffs until he reached the age of 13. The time in the Orphanage were difficult years for John; in particular, he had a very long spell in Hospital after he broke his back jumping off a haystack!

At the age of 13 he left and made his way to London to seek his fortune. He was a very conscientious lad and found he could turn his hand to anything; he had many jobs in the hospitality industry, working in hotels, and had his first taste of the entertainment business doing a brief spell with the Bernard Brothers acting as their `stooge` in Comedy acts.

John then turned his hand to engineering and completed a Car Maintenance apprenticeship which kick-started John’s career in engineering, which later became his speciality.

Like most young men of his age, John was called up for National Service in 1951 and spent most of the period in Egypt where he was a Fire Fighter in the Royal Air Force, where he was commended for his trustworthiness and general all-round efficiency.

John was very keen on personal fitness, loved swimming and an excellent dancer, winning many prizes with me for Jiving.

I met John at the Kings Head Hotel, Harrow, in August 1959, at one of their Dances, and he was being `chaperoned` by no less than 5 of his girl friends. I was staying that night with a friend who lived locally, and afterwards we all piled into his `clapped out` van to go to a Party in Docklands, before returning next day to my house in Kingston Vale, S.W.15.

John was living in those days with a Family North West London, before moving locally to a Rented Room in a house. but, after meeting so many girls who had lived South of the Thames, he thought that at last he had found a girl living North of the River, but, alas, that wasn’t to be,.
So, he still had to make long trips to South of the River, each week, or I went over to him in North West London.

So, after a two and a half year courtship, we finally got married in April 1962 at St. Anne`s Catholic Church in Kingston Hill, having a Reception at the Toby Jug Hotel, Tolworth, afterwards.

We honeymooned in Paris and the South of France where our elder son, Paul, was conceived, being born almost 9 months to the day! (A humorous aside is that there was an assortment of Rope Bells over the bed in Paris, which seemed to be connected to ALL the staff in the Hotel, as a constant stream of people were forever knocking at our door wanting to know if we wanted Room Service?)

We promptly moved in to a nice furnished flat in Empire Court, Wembley Park, and John then set up on his own as a Domestic Appliance Electrical Engineer, after leaving Danforth Electrics in Edgware, where he ran the shop for many years.

We had another son, Adam, five years later, before moving to our own little Cottage in Roe Green Village, Kingsbury, 1969, where we have been ever since.

John’s business developed through referrals from his customers and soon had a thriving operation throughout North West London with me running the administration. He was affectionately known as “Percy” by most of his Customers and our telephone never stopped ringing.

During the early 60’s John joined the Chelsea Sub Aqua Club before moving to Hampstead SAC., where his love of Diving took him to various exotic places around the world. John’s passion for the Sea grew and he purchased his first boat in the early 70’s, following which he had a series of Rigid Hull Inflatables. The most well-known was called Hurricane One, which was often seen off the coast of Dorset, in particular Lulworth Cove which was his favourite haunt. John was a keen water-skier, a passion which has passed down to his children and grandchildren.

In later years John developed a lot of Arthritic problems, not helped by a nasty Water Skiing accident. So, over the years, he ended up in various Hospitals, and was later dubbed `The Bionic Man` because of all the `spare` parts he had acquired.

His 3 Grandchildren gave him the most joy and he tried to spend as much time with them as he could over the years. Jacob, the eldest being vey musical, taking after his Dad, Paul, and Jemma, who is doing her Duke of Edinburgh Award, is also taking up Scuba Diving. Archie, coming later in life, has yet to show his full potential, but, he is already showing signs of the Plant `Hyper Activity`!

John in later years joined the Freemasons and was initiated into Wood Green Lodge on Friday the 4th September 1992, proposed by his close friend Peter Cornish. John then became Worshipful Master in 2002.

John being John and liked and loved by all who met him, could not refuse requests for him to join the Orders, these including the following:

The British Sub Aqua Lodge
The Sub Aqua Lodge
Arthur Hollings Lodge
Royal Ark Mariners
Middlesex Mark
Middlesex Royal and Select
Gauntlet Preceptor of Knights Templar
Wood Green Chapter
British Sub Aqua Chapter

John was Worshipful Master and First Principal of several of these Orders and also an ardent member of Lodges of Instruction, Chapters of Instruction, and Preceptors of Instruction.

He was also the Tyler (Door Guard) for Holloway Lodge.

A major part of being a Freemason is to help to raise money for various Charities, and one of John’s greatest achievements was to raise Funds to launch a RNLI Lifeboat for his dear friend, the late Peter Cornish who introduced John to the Freemasons.

John`s health started to deteriorate in the last two years, although, he always looked relatively well and always had a positive attitude - even when he was in considerable pain. His characteristic blond hair was the envy of many of his friends who often joked that it was a wig or that it was dyed! The fact is that he retained his golden locks right to the end.

However, John was sadly struck down by a Stroke, which ended his extraordinary life on St.Patrick`s Day, 17th March, 2010, having spent 3 weeks in Northwick Park Hospital, with Family and Friends visiting him there right up until the end.

John lived life to the full and impacted on everyone who knew him; his cheery personality was infectious and was loved by everyone who knew him. He was a mentor to his children and grandchildren, a rock and a mate who could always be relied on. He would never let anything defeat him and his perseverance was prominent in his work and social activities.

It goes without saying that he will be sincerely missed, but never forgotten, and his legacy lives on through his children and grandchildren.

Rest in peace John, a husband, father, grandfather and a great friend!

John Laughton Plant
1931 – 2010

Added by: Adam Plant on 27 March 2010.

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Picture of John Laughton Plant.
Picture of John Laughton Plant.
Picture of John Laughton Plant.

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The RNLI is a charity that provides a 24-hour lifesaving service around the UK and Republic of Ireland.

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