Mr John Farrugia awarded ‘Gieh il-Hamrun’
Mr John Farrugia affectionately known as “Ganton” was born in Hamrun on 10th February 1924. He married Lucia in 1947 and fathered 7 sons and 4 daughters. Just after finishing his school days, John was recruited in the armed forces and spent his first years as a store officer with the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (NAAFI).
At NAAFI, which is the organization created by the British Government in 1921 to run recreational establishments needed by the British Armed Forces, John gained first hand knowledge in the running of such a critical unit of the armed forces.This experience generated a sense of entrepreneurship in his family and coupled with sheer determination and will power, paved the way for John’s first family business venture, which was the running of a small grocery shop in Villambrosa Street, known by the Hamrunizi, in general, as “Ta’ Ganton”
As time went by and motivated by his proactive approach to business development, John started in the transport business by noticing and filling a gap in the market, transporting people (on many an occasion free of charge) to the neighboring St. Luke’s Hospital and the Mtarfa Military Hospital.
The reliable and friendly service marketed itself and soon enough John was becoming very popular with local residents and enhanced an excellent reputation for doing business in a fair manner. John was subsequently coined as the pioneer of the Chauffeur driven service in Malta. This achievement is even more manifest when during this phase John would spend his morning working in the shop and his afternoons in the garage.
The then established John’s Garage evolved into a full-on transport provider, covering weddings, funerals and even succeeding in securing government transport contracts notably with the Health Department, running officials from place to place. John was indeed a main source of employment for many families, largely from Hamrun.
This operation developed into a thriving business, which necessitated the expansion of the fleet to integrate top of the range cars, thereby ranking John’s Garage as the weddings’ market leader on the island and the preferred company to transport distinguished personalities and celebrities amongst whom, Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth II, Pele, Elton John and former Presidents George Bush and Mikael Gorbachev.
In the course of the last 50 years of operations, John’s Group has established itself as a household name and secured a firm reputation for high standards and consistent reliability throughout its services, nevertheless John will be held in very high esteem, more importantly by the Hamrunizi, firstly for having, in the last half a century, provided many a family with their livings and in the spirit of Christianity was a prime mover of generous donations to various philanthropic organizations.