21st February 1951 to 28th February 2020 – Aged 69

John Hilton, affectionately known as Honest John, passed away on Friday 28th February 2020 after a short illness, bravely borne.

John’s selfless and generous charity work in Newton Aycliffe will never be forgotten and has changed so many lives and many more organisations in the local area.

John leaves behind close friends Val and Roger and many acquaintances around Newton Aycliffe.

Honest John’s Fundraising Stall was first launched in 2007, initially set up to raise money for any community organisations or clubs based in Newton Aycliffe who were struggling and needed help. John took no payment from the stall and all money taken was given back to the local community.

Honest John helped many organisations in Newton Aycliffe averaging approximately £20,000 per annum, details of organisations who have been helped can be found on his website www.jack4.co.uk.

November 2019 saw the start of the thirteenth year John was to help local organisations – up to that time he had raised over £220,000.00.

John moved from a weekly market stall to a shop in Humankind (DISC) next to the Blue Bridge up until the end of August 2018. He then moved to a larger self-contained unit on the Aycliffe Business Park.

For last few months John had been feeling unwell, which eventually took a turn for the worse at the beginning of February. Realising that his health was not good he took the decision to retire from his charity work.

“In the late 1980’s John penned and performed a Beatles Roadshow, where he entertained through a mobile disco, playing Beatles tracks and telling stories and giving his knowledge of the Fab Four. At these events he held auctions and quizzes raising money for charities. John was so into the group that he renamed his home Fab 4 Arrowsmith Square and changed his name via deed poll to John ‘Lennon’ Hilton. I enjoyed accompanying John on these outings and helping to raising funds. John also recorded a series of 60s shows for Aycliffe Radio which we will plan to play again” said Paul Howarth.

In 1994, John and his close friend Roger took a trip to New York. John’s only time abroad, he had never flown before and it was to be a big adventure for him. The plan was to take a taxi to Darlington and a coach to Manchester airport. On arrival at John’s home, Roger found John was still in bed. “That was John, so laid back and nonchalant, nothing phased him. With his skills at publicity, promotion and unique ideas, he would have made a fantastic marketing executive and made a career from it”, said Roger.

John will be forever remembered for his kind heart, his big donations and generosity, a huge personality who will be sorely missed. He deserves his place in our town’s history.

According to John’s wishes, there will be no Funeral Service. However, plans are in place to remember John, keep an eye on your Newton News for future plans to commemorate this unique person’s life.