Christopher Marsden Withington, born 25th of May 1934 had his first name change just prior to his christening to John Marsden Withington. However in 1954 having been left the sum of £5 by a late Aunt in her will, he was misnamed as John Morison Withington and had to change his name to claim the inheritance. Born to Alan and Morag (nee Morison) Withington, he grew up in Highgate, London before the outbreak of the Second World War. With the pending German invasion of England, John’s parents made the arduous decision to send both John and his younger brother Alan (better known as Marsden) to Canada as evacuees to ensure their safety.
For four years they were fostered in Quebec, Canada, by a much loving McKay family before returning home to the UK at the conclusion of the war where he continued school at Swanbourne House and Haileybury schools. Post school he went onto study at Warsash Maritime Academy prior to starting his life in the merchant navy. He spent many years sailing the world’s oceans, making lifelong friendships with people from all over the world.
Whilst in London he met Pamela Kirckcaldie, a young New Zealand woman on her UK overseas experience whom he later married in 1966 at St. Mary’s church in Karori, Wellington, New Zealand. For the next ten years they lived in New Barnet, London where he raised his two sons James Marsden (09/06/1971) and Andrew Morison (22/03/1975) before immigrating to New Zealand to start the next chapter in his life.
He spent the next 20 years living in Karori, Wellington and worked for several stevedoring companies including the Union Shipping Company, as a cargo supervisor before taking early retirement. John and Pamela settled in Taupo about 1999, where he continued his love of boating on Lake Taupo with the chances of catching fresh trout, with his family. Whilst in Taupo he continued his involvement with the local Rotary club, earning him the Paul Harris Fellow medallion. John was best remembered for his impeccable manners and polite English manner that is part of his legacy.
John passed away on 27 August 2020 and true to his wishes had his ashes were scattered in Trumpan, in the Isle of Skye, Scotland, near the McLeod memorial overlooking the sea, which he loved. This memorial stone has been placed among generations of the Morisons on the Isle of Mull, where as a young child he spent many a summer holidays, staying at the family home called Strongarbh in Tobermory.
John was a much-loved husband to Pamela and father to James and Andrew, grandfather to Campbell, Max, Hannah and Liesel. His absence is felt everyday as he lives on in our hearts and minds forever.