A FLYING ace who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his heroism in the Second World War has died aged 87.

John Horton was also a former president of Newport YMCA and is credited with laying the foundation stone of its centre on Mendalgief Road.

Originally from Pontnewydd, Flight Lieutenant Horton was given the DFC in 1944 for flying a Lancaster Bomber back to base after it was badly damaged.

On the flight over Hanover, German fighters shot up his plane, with a crew member killed and the pilot badly injured.

He served in the RAF from 1941 and was commissioned as a pilot officer, flying in Lancaster bombers as a navigator and bomb aimer.

He left the RAF after the war and started a long career with Monmouthshire County Council.

Mr Horton of Ronald Road, St Julians made a major contribution to youth activities in Gwent.

He introduced brass band playing into many schools and established what is now the Greater Gwent Youth Band.

Mr Horton also set up the Newport Borough Brass Band and and was its secretary for over 30 years.

He served with the Newport YMCA for over 40 years as a volunteer, treasurer,acting secretary and President when its centre in Mendalgief Road was built in 1997.

Newport YMCA chief executive Peter Landers said: "It was with great pride that he laid the foundation stone of the centre which houses, among other facilities, an outstanding home for the Newport Borough Brass Band."

He added: "John had strong opinions that he wasn't afriad to express. He was very devoted to his family and the things he took on, he saw through."

Mr Horton died at the end of February after a short illness. A service took place on March 3 at St Julians Methodist Church before a cremation at Gwent Crematorium.

He leaves behind wife Olive and children Neil, Karl and Ruth.