Dear Sir,

I am so sorry and saddened to hear about Honest John’s passing. I know he will be sadly missed by many and will be such a loss to Newton Aycliffe. I am very proud to say John was a very good friend and he was there for me when I needed him most. His door was open and he would listen to my concerns for hours, never once tiring or growing weary of a friend in need.

I will never forget John’s kindness, hospitality and his gifted sense of humour. We shared many an evening laughing at ourselves and the wider world in general.

John was very knowledgeable in what he did, having an encyclopedic memory for pottery and antiques. He had tremendous drive and enthusiasm, setting off from his home at uneartly hours in the middle of winter to set up his stall both in the town centre market and Sunday car boot fairs. Never complaining, instead a nice smile and a kind word always waited anyone who stopped by the stall for a chat.

I would often tell him to start thinking of himself, but of course, this always fell on deaf ears. Such as John’s selflessness in helping the local community.

It was this desire to help and give to others, which, as I am sure many will agree, wasn’t really truly “officially” recognised, but certainly was acknowledged by those he helped and the people of Newton Aycliffe, which was what mattered to John.

He was truly a man of the people, gentle, happy and a kind soul. One of life’s good guys. We will all miss him so much.

Andrew from Ferryhill