JOHN William Ernest Groves, the former scout leader for First Northwood and chairman of Cowes Heritage and Community Group, has died.

John was born in Cowes on January 14, 1936, and attended Denmark Road Primary and Cowes secondary schools.

He later became an apprentice aircraft electrician at Saunders Roe and worked on various projects, including the Princess Flying Boat, A1 Jet Fighter, and the SR153 fighter.

While John was courting his future wife, Maureen, they bought land in Northwood and, with the help of the family, built a bungalow that would become their home for the next 62 years.

The couple married on June 21, 1958, at Cowes Methodist Church.

The couple had their first child, Alan, in 1959, followed by Debbie in 1962.

Tragedy struck in December 1964, when both of John’s parents died in a car crash on the mainland.

At the time of the accident, John’s father owned a building business in Cowes, and subsequently, John and his brother Peter decided to give up their existing employment to take over the family firm, John Grove Builders.

In the mid-1970s, John became a school governor, firstly at Northwood Primary and then at Cowes High as vice-chair, finally at Solent Middle as chairman – continuing in this role for 30 years.

John’s involvement with First Northwood Scouts also lasted 30 years, starting when his son Alan became a cub scout in 1967. He eventually became group scout leader.

Tragedy struck again in 1978, when Alan, aged 19, died in a road traffic accident.

With enormous help and support from friends and family, John and Maureen were able to rebuild their lives and had another son, Ian.

John was determined to retire at 60, arranging with Peter that he would work part-time for a few years.

This newfound freedom enabled John and Maureen to enjoy many holidays across the world.

In 2002, John published a book called Jewel of the Solent, a historical account of Cowes.

With like-minded people, and the support of Maureen, John instigated the setting up of Cowes Heritage (now Cowes Heritage and Community Group) and became chairman of the committee.

John died on January 15, surrounded by his family.

He is survived by his wife, two children, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.