Former Man of Rochdale and 'the singing jeweller', John Swinden dies

Date published: 09 April 2024

Much-loved former Man of Rochdale John Swinden has passed away suddenly.

Affectionately known as 'the singing jeweller', businessman John, a prolific fund-raiser for local charities, owned the J&D Alexander shop on The Walk in Rochdale town centre.

John, who raised thousands of pounds for charity over the years, died unexpectedly on 3 April.

He was named Man of Rochdale in 2017, receiving his award at a ceremony at Rochdale Town Hall.

A manager at the J&D Alexander shop before becoming the owner in late 2002, John became known as the singing jeweller after an initial talent contest entry more than 50 years ago.

He didn't win after singing 'Strangers in the Night' by Frank Sinatra, but finally took to the stage again around 2011.

He performed under the stage name John Alexander and even went on to have three auditions for TV show The Voice.

This led to John's unstinting charity work, which he was well-known for throughout Rochdale and beyond.

In an interview with Real Rochdale in 2018 John, who moved to Rochdale from Hillsborough in Sheffield some 40 years ago, said: "I’ve always tried to raise money for local charities through singing.

"I couldn’t tell you how much I’ve raised because I’ve never kept track.

"I’ve supported the Moorland Children’s Home and many individual worthy causes, and given tens of thousands of pounds of gift vouchers away for jewellery.

"I do all that I can purely because I’m blessed to be in a position to do so and I love doing it."

John Swinden
John Swinden


A spokesperson for Springhill Hospice said: "We are deeply sorry to hear about John's passing. John was a huge supporter of the hospice and has raised over £10,000 over the years for us. His legacy of kindness and generosity will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of those he touched through his charitable endeavours.

"Our condolences to his family and loved ones during this difficult time."

John's partner Janice has posted links to fundraisers for three of his largest supported charities to her post.

You can donate to the JustGiving pages of Rochdale Children's Moorland Home, Springhill Hospice or Rochdale Foodbank in his memory.

Rochdale Children's Moorland Home:

Springhill Hospice:

Rochdale Foodbank:

A celebration of John's life will be held at St Chad's Parish Church, Rochdale, on Friday 3 May at 11.30am with family only going on to the crematorium afterwards.

John had numerous friends and acquaintances who will want to attend, but for those far and wide or are simply unable to attend you can watch the proceedings on this link: You can watch live from 11.15am or at any point after the start of the service. The video will stay online indefinitely.

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