It is with great sadness we write to tell you that Austin H Lowe (Bob Lowe) died this week, just a few weeks short of his 100th birthday. He had been the oldest living Old Lyonian having joined John Lyon School in 1933. The image on the left shows Bob in 1933 dressed for his first day at John Lyon School at his home in North Harrow.
Over the years he has kept in contact with the School, particularly during Covid the Lyonain Office was able to keep a conversation going with him and encourage current pupils to consider volunteering their time to reach out to lonely relatives.
He became an ambassador for the Silver Line charity and had made a number of media appearances. Dame Esther praised his "bravery and eloquence". She recalled that the letter she received from Mr Lowe, explaining that his wife Kath had died two years previously from Alzheimer's, was "inspirational". "He said: 'Sixty-five years of marriage and more importantly 72 years since we first kissed... she waited throughout the war and I for her. Loneliness, tell me about it.'"
He later appeared on This Morning to perform a poem, Ode To Kath, which brought presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield close to tears. Bob also read his poem on BBC Five Live, sparking interest from around the world and an emotional response.
Bob’s memories of John Lyon
“I joined John Lyon in September 1933. There was only one building: what can be called the old building. The headmaster was Mr Le Beau. Thinking back, I suppose my thoughts were: cold classrooms in the winter, with a heating pipe that never got hot; the toilets had no roof; below the class were the cloisters which had a pot bellied stove for heating which we would crowd round at lunch time to eat our sandwiches.”