A large congregation at the funeral service in St Cuthbert’s Church, Lothian Road, heard John described as “a workaholic”, “a man of the people” and “a great journalist”.
John, a proud Leither, lifelong Hibs fanatic and the Evening News’ best-known writer, died peacefully at the Western General Hospital on November 29, aged 85.
Many of his best “contacts” were at the funeral, including former Lord Provost Eric Milligan, hairdresser Charlie Miller, entrepreneur Sir Tom Farmer, Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster and chair Rod Petrie, former Tattoo boss Major Brian Leishman, impresario Tommy Carson and Mike Hunter from Edinburgh Speedway.
The Rev Charles Robertson, former minister of Canongate Kirk, who conducted the funeral, opened the service by saying it would be “an act of thanksgiving in an atmosphere of celebration”.
He described John as “irreplaceable” and said he was “a celebrity in his own right as well as a showbiz reporter”.
Former Evening News deputy editor Hamish Coghill said John’s “must-read” columns could be “informative, amusing, abrasive and highly personal all at once, stirring up our readers at the same time”.
He told stories of John’s reluctance to spend money and instead to stash away as much as he could.
“While he had a reputation for tight-fistedness I’m told a couple of local charities might be receiving a nice little boost presently.”
The order of service for the funeral was designed like a football programme in green and white and the service ended with the hymn whose tune is used as Hibs “Glory glory” anthem.