John Sheffield, often known as Sheff, passed away peacefully on January 8 after a three-year struggle with cancer.
Born and bred in Swindon, Sheff’s football affiliation was always with The Robins (currently in League One), but he left school and his home town to start his career in training as a pilot with British Airways.
He retired as a senior 747 Jumbo captain after a working life with BA, which, in its later stages on long-haul routes, gave the opportunity for rounds of golf around the world.
A long-time resident of Woodley and member of Sonning Golf Club, Sheff appeared at Rams Rugby club in the late 70s when his son Ben was introduced to the Under 8s.
Around that same time, in his role as a member and Chairman of Reading Round Table, John Sheffield was closely involved with community service work in the area.
Married to Gill for more than 50 years, their daughter Jemma and family live in Bristol, and budding sportsmen and grandsons Henry and Alfie brought great delight to their proud grandfather.
In recent years Sheff had become a keen supporter of Rams as a Vice President, following the team to many away games as well as regular attendance at Old Bath Road.
He was well known and well liked in the bar and on the touchline and everyone who knew Sheff spoke of the courageous, positive, and self-effacing way he dealt with his illness.
Words by John Taylor