A shopkeeper known throughout the village he grew up for his firework displays has died aged 80.

Christopher ‘John’ Paddon, who ran Montague’s Newsagents and Whizzz Bang Fireworks in High Street, Kings Langley, died on May 6 in Watford General Hospital following a sudden illness.

Mr Paddon was born in Hemel Hempstead Hospital on May 2, 1939 and was brought home within the week to his parents' house at 103 Hempstead Road.

Spending his life growing up in the area, going to school at Stanborough Park in Watford, he never strayed far from his roots.

Watford Observer:

John’s father died when he was a teenager, but prior to his death enrolled his son into the Army. The 15-year-old enlisted on September 9, 1954, as a vehicle mechanic apprentice.

During his time in the Army he became known by his middle name John, a name that stuck through his life.

While he was serving, his mother remarried to newsagent Mr Montague, otherwise known as Monty. It was Monty who first introduced John to his wife Yvonne, whose father owned the Rose and Crown Pub in Kings Langley, opposite All Saints Church where the couple married.

Mr Paddon stayed in the army until he was 21 when he then returned home to help his mother run the newsagent following his stepfather's death.

Watford Observer:

He spent decades running the show – previous paper boys remember his fatherly support and locals recall seeing him driving around Kings Langley in his blue van.

Mr Paddon had an array of hobbies throughout his life such as stock car racing, clay pigeon shooting and selling fireworks – much of which stemmed after his time in the war when he grew to love anything that went ‘bang!’

In fact, his adoration for fireworks grew when his son was born on November 5, sparking a tradition of firework displays.

Over the past eight years, Mr Paddon became well known within the village for his work on the spectacular firework shows seen at the village's New Year’s Eve displays as part of his work at Whizzz Bang Fireworks.

He retired from running the newsagents nearly 10 years ago, but never stopped his work for Whizzz Bang.

Mr Paddon was endlessly proud of his children, ferrying them to diving lessons, cricket matches and much more – enabling them to follow any future of their choosing.

His daughter Alison said: “Everyone loved to love our Dad. He was one of the kindest people you’d meet, always helping someone, giving someone a hug, always smiling or laughing and joking!

“Dad was extremely community minded, had good morals, values and an exceptional work ethic that he proudly passed on to everyone willing to listen and learn.

“He was the most loyal and loving husband to Yvonne, most amazing Dad to Roz, Ali and Jon, supportive and inspirational grandad to Terry, Sammie, Kane, Nathan and Christian and loving great grandad to Ruby and Bella Rose.

“Our dad stood by us all through thick and thin, and proudly supported each one of us to the ends of the Earth. Our rock, our constant and our joy, we feel blessed to have had this special man in our lives – he will be missed massively.”

Mr Paddon’s funeral was held on Wednesday in Kings Langley, followed by a final journey through the village, a memorial service at All Saints Church, a committal at Garston Crematorium for family and close friends and a wake at Kings Langley Cricket Club.

His family asked for donations at the funeral to buy equipment for Watford General Hospital to thank them for their support when John was ill.

As a final goodbye, a firework display will take place tonight (Friday) at 9pm at Chipperfield Common. All will be welcome.