John Ayles, 1929 - 2006

John was born on 25th April 1929 in Loughborough, Leicestershire. At the age of 7 the family together with his two brothers moved to Worthing where his sister was born.

Following his attendance at primary and junior school he attended Worthing High School for Boys where he obtained his matriculation. On leaving school he commenced training as an Industrial Chemist and secured his first job working in the laboratory at Fulham Power Station. With the exception of carrying out two years' National Service in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) he continued to work in the electrical generating industry which culminated in his appointment as Station Chemist at Brighton Power Station. John took early retirement in 1988 when the power station was demolished.

John had married Dawn in 1957 and moved into a newly built house in Hangleton Valley Drive, Hove, where they had two daughters. However busy he was, John always had time for this family, particularly his four grandchildren.

Following his retirement he was able to further his interest in architecture, particularly of the 1920's and 1930's and both he and Dawn became members of Hove Civic Society, the Regency Society and the Victorian Society. They were also Friends of the Brighton Philharmonic Society and had had season tickets for the Sunday concerts for many years. He was invited to become a member of Hove Civic Society committee by the then Chairman, Dr Rex Binning and for a while was Treasurer. However he did not really enjoy that role and relinquished it as soon as he was able!

John was also very involved in his local community. He had been a Churchwarden and Vice-Chairman of the Parochial Church Council of St Helen's, the family's parish church which was built in the 11th century. John had an extensive knowledge of the history of the church and conducted many tours. He also assisted greatly in the re-ordering of the very modern daughter church and Community Centre, St Richard's which is located on the Knoll Estate. He was a member of their Management Committee and in addition he was a Trustee of the Hangleton Community Centre for many years.

He was a devotee of classical music with a particular liking for English composers such as Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan-Williams. Radio 3 was always on both at home and in the car unless Dawn could get to Radio 4 first! He was also a lover of poetry, Dylan Thomas being a favourite, which he read frequently.

It is without doubt an indication of the level of involvement in his local community and the community at large that more than 160 people crammed into the tiny church of St Helen’s for his Requiem Mass. Over £1,500 was raised in his memory for the church he loved.

I first met John and Dawn Ayles when I was invited to join the Planning & Monitoring Group of Hove Civic Society. We quickly 'bonded' and would review the majority of the relevant planning applications on a weekly basis either by 'driving by' and/or poring over the plans at Hove Town Hall. John also enjoyed being Hove Civic Society’s representative at the Conservation Advisory Group (CAG) meetings.

John's input to the Group is sadly missed by us all and I, in particular, miss our weekly 'head to head' at the Planning Office.

Graham Deane
Planning & Monitoring Group
Hove Civic Society
12th April 2007