During a trip back home to the UK, Bob Grafham and I went along to a race meeting at Oulton Park where Porsche Cars Great Britain / AFN were running their Carrera 3 litre RS, driven by Nick Faure.
We had a chat with John Aldington and I told John that, “You need to get down to Bahrain, as there was a decent market there for Porsche.” John told me, “There was already an importer in Bahrain”, which I immediately challenged, as I knew there certainly was not, but he insisted there was? So then when I asked, “Who is this Importer?” and he looked at me and said, “I am looking at the Importer for Bahrain!”
John then offered to assist us as much as he could and he became good friends to us from that moment on.
I knew John or J.T. as many people called him, on and off since my days at Maltin’s. He always spoke very highly of my late brother Mike “Ginger” Giddins during his time at AFN and I guess John respected people that got on with the job and tried to better themselves irrespective of their social background. I remember Ginger used to call him “Long John” due to his unusual height.
At the time of writing this book, many years after our Porsche days I met John and his lifetime friend Lawrence Hardwicke in the fall of 2005 when I visited the AFN archives and museum at Coxon, Henley on Thames. After a fascinating tour of the archives and tinkering with a couple of Frazer Nash cars, a pub lunch together, I left John & Lawrence with a CD draft copy of this book as it was at that time. In early 2006 I received an email from John that he was reading “The Book” and was enjoying it. I sent him a reply that I was working on the new updated draft and jokingly said, “Should I bring my lawyer with me next time”?
I did not hear from John for some months when I had a call from Lawrence telling my John has been very ill and was recovering at home and wanted to pass on his regards thorough Lawrence. Looking back on matters this must have been the start of John’s illness (brain tumour) and I kept in touch with Lawrence every few months.
It was always my intention to ask my friend John to write the Foreword to this book but alas that is not to be as Bill Bates telephoned me on Friday 17th November 2006 to inform me that John had passed away at his home in Llanerfyl, Welshpool, Powys.
John was a very private man to those of us that knew him and I can claim that myself. Many of his previous staff and contemporaries never really understood John the man and just saw him as their boss.
John is survived by his children, Mark, Katie and Rowena. I spoke and met Lawrence Hardwicke since this sad news and I was heartened to hear Rowena and Katie were at the AFN archives helping out since their father’s passing, which I know John would have approved of.
In recent years John had taken his Frazer Nash on a Club tour of New Zealand and he was the last of the AFN dynasty.
John you are sincerely missed!