John first came to Summer Bay towards the end of 2001 to see children Flynn and Ashley, shortly after Flynn had tracked a missing Ashley down and helped her turn herself around. Flynn was unhappy to see him, feeling that John had abandoned them when their mother died, and bitter that he had made no attempt to track Ashley down himself when she had become addicted to drugs and ran away. He tried to send John away but Ashley warned Flynn not to assume that she didn’t want a relationship with John just because he didn’t. Ashley ultimately accepted John’s offer to return to the city to live with him, and John and Flynn made peace before they left.
John returned in 2003 for Flynn and Sally’s wedding, attending the ill-fated bucks party where Flynn had to rush to help Sophie, who had gone into labour at an isolated cove. He was then involved in the catalogue of disasters where Sally was delayed by the horse pulling her wedding cart bolting and then the ceremony was hit by a ferocious downpour. John decamped to the local hospital with the rest of the guests to finally see Flynn and Sally exchange vows. Afterwards, he told Flynn he was proud of him and gave him tickets for a honeymoon in the snow.
He and Ashley made their last visit to Summer Bay for Flynn’s funeral, where John greeted Alf and Sally prior to the service. At the wake, he commented to Alf that they would have been down to see Flynn during his illness but he had requested that they stay away. That evening, John, along with Ric, Cassie, Alf, Colleen and Ashley, accompanied Sally to the beach to scatter Flynn’s ashes and witnessed the candlelit vigil by the residents.