John Barlow Awarded Hibbert Cup

The Hibbert Cup is awarded by Abbotts Ann War Memorial Hall for outstanding, voluntary, unpaid contribution to the community in honour of Basil Hibbert, who himself made an outstanding contribution to our community.

The worthy winner of the Hibbert Cup for year 2023-24 is John Barlow.  John and his wife Jenny moved into the village in 1978 and have lived in their current house for 40 years.  He’s always been involved in the community of Abbotts Ann and feels passionate about contributing and making a positive difference to people’s lives.  John says: “Volunteering enriches your own life and, hopefully, the life of the community”.

As a Solicitor John specialised in civil and criminal litigation, in addition he served for 30 years as a District Judge, part time, in the County Court. He says that most lawyers are frustrated actors, and very much enjoyed contributing to the Abbotts Ann Players over many years.  Murder mysteries have been held in the Barlow’s beautiful garden, and he’s performed a Flanders and Swann song dressed as an elephant and on another occasion performed as an Ancient Briton covered in green slimy woad.  He’s written and directed plays and musicals, and on one occasion Jenny made the lasagne to be served in the interval and John delivered it to the War Memorial Hall in a wheelbarrow!

Jenny Read of the Abbotts Ann Players says:

“John was a much-treasured member of the Abbotts Ann Players for many years. He not only starred in numerous plays, pantomimes and reviews over the years, but was also a calm and encouraging Director. As he now demonstrates with the Fete, John was also an excellent compere and provided entertainment (sometimes set to music) whilst introducing the proceedings! Such is his talent, John successfully played a variety of roles, from serious to mysterious – in Panto of the Opera, he kept the entire audience guessing as to his identity until the closing moment. With his fine voice and wonderful sense of humour, John was a real asset to the group – he is welcome to come back at any time!”

John has also served two terms on the Parish Council, a member of Abbotts Ann Action, the chair of the shop committee whilst the shop was built and opened, and has served as a governor at the local school.  He is currently a valued member of Abbotts Ann Community Land Trust.  John Patience and Ray Lucas from the CLT say “John has always had the gift of clarifying complicated situations and resolving arguments and is much appreciated for his contributions to the CLT’s activities over a number of years”.   The attached photo was taken by Steve Randall on one of the walks that John does with others in the village – John’s walking companions say that the photos shows “a man in control and at peace, which is very much how he fulfils his pivotal role in the CLT”.

John very much continues his contribution to the village and remains the “Friday Baker” and you can buy the tempting wares that he bakes in the village shop.

Thank you John for all you do.