Midlands motoring writer John Connor died in a M4 motorway crash last week shortly after returning from the Nissan New Qashqai launch.

John died in his own car while queuing off the M4 to join the M25 and was hit by a following lorry.

He had attended the New Qashqai launch along with WGMW vice-chairman Robin Roberts, former vice-chairman Reg Burnard, ex-chairmen Leigh Robinson and Tony Lewis, among others from the Midland Group.

Reg Burnard and John Connor returned to pick up their cars from a hotel close to the M4 and exchanged hand-shakes before they went their separate ways.

John’s driving  partner on the Nissan event was Midlands Group chairman Ian Donaldson, who passed the scene of the crash minutes after it happened and without realizing John was involved. 

The lorry driver was arrested at the scene and is understood to have been charged with causing death by dangerous driving. 

A member of the Society of Editors and a former motor industry newspaper and magazine editor, John aged 75, lived in Bentley Heath, near Solihull, and was a long standing member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers and its membership secretary. In recent years he was a freelance, specialising in pre-launch test drives for various UK weekly titles.

His wife, Veronica, died last year and he is survived by their two children, Michael and Clair.

Midland Group chairman Ian Donaldson said of their last days together in Spain, “He had been full of laughter, talking with joy about the Christmas he spent with his grandchildren. His passing is an enormous shock.”

WGMW chairman John Kendall paid tribute to John Connor, saying, “Like many Western Group members, I was shocked to hear of fellow motoring writer John Connor’s sudden death last Thursday. 

“He was doing what we all do so many times, having set off for home near Solihull after attending a launch. There have been many tributes paid to John since his death was announced on Friday, paying tribute to his cheerful, compassionate nature and his warm heartedness. 

“I did not know John well, but always found him to be good company. He had worked in both PR and journalism, having worked, if memory serves me well, in the Standard press office. I quietly hoped that he might write a book about his experiences. We all travel in the expectation of arriving. It is tragic that John never made it home and I extend the Western Group’s deepest sympathy to his daughter Clair son Michael and John’s grandchildren.”

Details of the funeral arrangements will be announced later. Sympathy cards may be sent to: Michael Connor, 12 Hildenbrook Farm, Riding Lane, Hildenborough, Kent, TN11 9JN.

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