Very sad news. He was a real giant of the radio industry with a huge passion for the medium.
I’d thoroughly recommend reading his book, and also the Trouble At The Top documentary, ‘Degsy Rides Again’ (available on YouTube) about his launching Century North West.
Definitely taken from us far too soon. I've a copy of John's book, and when I ordered it I mentioned that I remembered watching him on Border all those years ago. When the book arrived it was with a dedication from John. That book, needless to say, will be cherished now.
John had a great style when he was announcing at Border. With Fearless Fred the Fighting Fireman from the Fife Firefighting Fusiliers (who can't 'arf fight fires) and Eric the Monkey, he made the birthday greetings spots his own. As is well-known, Border launched many media careers. In John's case, Border acted as a catapult, and a very big one at that.
It says a lot for the respect which John had in the industry that a whole half-hour of today's Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 was devoted to him. That must have been very hard for Jeremy to do, as he and John were very good friends.