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John King’s Story
John King was a much-loved chef with an international reputation.
Described by The Caterer Magazine as “one of the hospitality industry’s most highly respected chefs”, John’s 40 years in the kitchen included spells at: The Dorchester, The Connnaught, The Ritz Club, Le Caprice, Les Ambassadeurs, Crockfords and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manila.
John won many accolades during his illustrious career including the Gold Medal for Best Regional Team in the World for the Ritz Club at the 1988 Culinary Olympics. He was also an active member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts.
As well as cooking, John loved nothing more than inspiring and teaching the next generation of chefs. He was a part-time lecturer at Westminster College, where his own career started.
Gary Hunter, Vice Principal for Hospitality and Adult Learning at the college said of John: “He was a remarkable chef and one of life’s true gentlemen. He was everything a professional chef should aspire to be.”
John’s wife Laura told The Caterer: “Everyone loved John. Everywhere we went people knew him. John was delighted when we managed to arrange a picture of him with many of the students he had taught. We were all so proud of John.”
In 2015, the family received the devastating news that John had been diagnosed with a glioblastoma brain tumour. A condition from which he sadly passed away on 22nd November 2016 after an incredibly brave and dignified fight against his illness.
Creating a legacy
During John’s treatment, Laura and John discovered the gardens for patients outside McKissock Ward at Atkinson Morley Hospital, Wimbledon. The gardens were commissioned by famous brain surgeon Henry Marsh to help with patient recovery but were in need of some TLC.
With the agreement of the hospital, Laura and John adopted the garden and with a team of friends started to maintain it. Laura and John both agreed that they should start a charity to maintain and improve the McKissock Ward garden. In addition to this, they were passionate about supporting the amazing work of St George’s Hospital Trust in the treatment of brain tumours.
And so the John King Brain Tumour Foundation was conceived and a group of enthusiastic volunteer trustees recruited. From money raised after John’s funeral, and with the amazing support of Tony Woods of Garden Club London, the garden is being upgraded and maintained as a wonderful haven for patients.
Laura is also passionate about supporting the incredible work of Tim Jones, Neurosurgeon, St George’s Hospital Trust. The charity’s first major project is to raise money for a state-of-the-art microscope, not available through NHS funding. This will allow more of a brain tumour to be removed during surgery prolonging a patient's life.
Laura says “Ultimately we want to support research into this fatal cancer which receives only 1% of all cancer research funding and has a life expectancy of just 15 months. Sadly many more young people are being diagnosed with malignant brain tumours. All monies raised will be spent wisely and managed by our board of trustees. There will be no administration fees so every penny really will count. Apart from John's four beautiful children, this will be his lasting legacy.”
Donations (one-off or monthly) to the John King Brain Tumour Foundation can be made here:
Registered Charity number: 1172606