John Cockburn was born on 14 October 1937 at Greenlaw, Berwickshire, the son of a farmer. He was educated at the Loretto School, Musselbrough. He was a keen horseman, his uncle was the trainer Stewart Wright, and he won the Berwickshire point-to-point steeplechase in 1960 and 1964.
In 1964 he married Amy Thompson, known as Judy, after they met water-skiing at Hoselaw Loch. They had a son and two daughters.
Cockburn died on 3 April 2017. He was survived by his wife and children. He received obituaries in The Times, The Daily Telegraph, and The Scotsman.
- John Cockburn. The Times, 13 May 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2017. (subscription required)
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