Goodbye, Mr Vazson

a pair of adidas predator football boots hanging on a pegWhether you were a fan of PE or not you knew and you had the greatest of respect for Mr Vazson, not because he commanded it but because he earnt it through the respect of you as an individual. He may have been small in stature but was large in personality and passion for his job.

Which is why, with the news of his sad passing, there’s been an overwhelming outpouring of shock and surprise from people who haven’t set foot in ‘the Comp’ – or whatever it may be called these days – for 20 years or more.

Such is the feeling that there are now plans to hold a Mr Vazson football tournament in his memory, and its testament to how beloved he was with students of all ages that such a suggestion has gained such momentum and such universal appeal so quickly.

My first meeting with Mr Vazson was one of chance and came on a summer holiday in Norfolk, it just so happened to be the last summer before I went into my first year at the Dukeries Community College. We were staying on a caravan site and so was he and he and my dad struck up conversation.

Even then he cut that same unmistakable figure with the largest calf muscles known to man and yes had the trademark short shorts that he seemed to wear rain, shine or sleet. If he had an action figure that is what it would look like.

The only vital things he was missing were his accessories, a whistle round his neck, a football under his arm and a ruddy great set of keys!

I was never in the school footy team but John Vazson always had time for you, appreciated that not everyone could kick a ball straight but helped you find your strengths. Turns out mine was cross country, I even ended up running for the County once and came 13th.

He was one of those teachers you just welcomed seeing.

Everyone leaving comments regarding Mr Vazson may not have played on the footy team, I’m sure a lot did mind, and those teams and students must span many years but they are all united as one to remember a down to earth teacher of great warmth and humour. A man who has probably inspired more than one person to teach, a man that most would not have seen for many years but all have never forgot.

A man that together we all metaphorically wear black armbands for as we remember him and the time that we were privileged to be in lessons with him, have him as our tutor, be driven by him in the bright yellow mini-buses, be coached by him, or congratulated by him.

We’ll all have our own memories and moments that we recall of Mr V. As an older student venturing on school camp in 1992 I remember going on a long walk with a handful of students and a small group of teachers, John Vazson being one of them.

It was moments like that, where you were able to chat and talk that you saw that he wasn’t just a great teacher, he was a great bloke and to echo the chorus of former students, he’ll be greatly missed.

Goodbye, Mr Vazson.

4 thoughts on “Goodbye, Mr Vazson”

  1. This is an absolutely wonderful tribute to John with words that have really touched my heart. I would love to know who you are…
    Melanie (John’s wife)


  2. Thanks Melanie, I’m kind of speechless that you’ve taken time out during this difficult time to read this and post a very kind reply. John had a positive impact on everybody who met him and it was a lasting one and I tried to reflect that in my tribute. I’m Dean Newman, formally a Dukeries pupil 1987 – 1994 (did 6th form there as well) and now live in Essex. Thank you again, it really does mean a lot x


  3. John was my best friend at High Storrs Grammar School in Sheffield and along with Stephen Woodhead were ardent Sheffield Wednesday supporters.
    I am so sad to hear of John’s passing and the fact that we lost touch soon after leaving school – never to speak or see each other again.
    My deepest sympathies go to you and any family. A photograph of John in his teaching years would be most appreciated.
    Kind regards


  4. John was my ‘best man’ at our wedding in ’74, and in all honesty there could not have been a better man, friend or teacher.

    Like Stephen Mellor, I was also at High Storrs and sadly did not keep in contact with John during his days at Alsager or when he settled down to teach near Mansfield.

    Top man to be proud of and I have only just found out of his passing despite being 4 years late.

    To the students reading this, let this be advice – don’t lose track of your friends.

    To his family, sorry to hear and you could not have had a better husband & father.


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