Hitchin A505 death: Tributes paid to loving grandfather who was involved in making hats for Princess Diana

The late John Boon who died following a crash in Hitchin last Friday

The late John Boon who died following a crash in Hitchin last Friday - Credit: Archant

The family of the grandfather who died in a crash in Hitchin last week have paid a warm tribute to him.

Alfred John Boon who was driving his red Jaguar along Offley Road A505 when the car collided with a wall of a property near the junction of Pirton Road and Offley Road on Thursday afternoon.

The 85-year-old was then taken to Lister Hospital in Stevenage, where he died.

The crash occurred along the same stretch of road campaigners have been asking the council to introduce traffic calming measures onto, and less than a week after a man was arrested on suspicion of drink driving after a Vauxhall Corsa crashed into two parked cars and a brick wall nearby.

John, as he preferred to be called, leaves behind his partner of six years Sue Coates, her children – Claire and Ricky – and grandchildren, Elise, eight, and Taylor, nine.

Sue said: “Born and raised in Luton, he left school at 14 to work as apprentice milliner in the town, before eventually starting his own hat block business, involved in the process of hat making. He produced work for hundreds of people, including royalty such as Princess Diana, Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice, also meeting Princess Anne.

“John worked really hard, and only retired aged 74. He had a strong relationship with Claire’s children and they often stayed with us.

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“Elise would demand John’s attention and he’d give it whole-heartedly. They’d chat about all kind of things and got on very well as they had the same sense of humour.”

Claire said: “When he looked after Elise for me, they’d make videos of her dancing and send them to me to watch.”

Sue, who was in the car with John at the time of the crash, added: “I just want to say thank you again to everyone for all they did. I’d also like to thank the police, ambulance service and hospital staff who’ve been fantastic throughout.”

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