Community stalwart and RAF veteran dies, aged 93

Frank Williams.
Frank Williams.

An RAF veteran and former Alnwick Mayor has died, aged 93.

Frank Williams, a resident of the town’s Summerhill care home, passed away last Wednesday.

He is survived by daughter Barbara and sons Stephen, Christopher and Martin, as well as by eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

He was married to Norah for 54 years, before her death in 2005.

Frank’s funeral is at 1pm on Monday, April 10, at Alnwick’s St Michael’s Church, followed by a family burial.

Born in 1923 in Birkenhead, Frank first came to north Northumberland in August 1945, as an RAF radar navigator flying Mosquito nightfighters from RAF Acklington, fresh from wartime service in the skies over the Netherlands.

In December 1945, he was posted to an RAF squadron in India, but by then he had fallen in love with Northumberland.

He would return in 1968 with his wife and family and would spend almost the next 49 years living, working and serving church and community activities in north Northumberland.

This included judging at Alwinton Show and convenor to the Scottish Rock Garden Club in Northumberland.

Frank served in the education department of Alnwick Teacher Training College, rising to become head of teaching practice, before taking on the role of headmaster at Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury.

After his retirement, Frank busied himself serving on many community groups in Alnwick. Co-opted to the town council, he was eventually elected as Mayor, with his term ending in 1983.

Subsequently, Frank and Norah moved to a home in Rennington where Frank created a renowned garden. After Norah’s death, Frank returned to Alnwick, first at Abbeyfields, and later at Summerhill.

Thanks to the kindness of many friends, he continued to participate in cultural and church activities in Alnwick until recent years.

While increasingly frail, he remained mentally alert and loved to joke with the care home staff.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Frank was a church chorister, a service he continued at St Michael’s in Alnwick late into his 80s. He was a stalwart tenor of the Alnwick and District Choral Society until well after his retirement.

Staff at Summerhill have paid their respects, describing him as a gentleman and saying that it was a pleasure to look after him.

Frank visited RAF Boulmer and had a picture taken with the iconic Sea Kings before they left the base for the last time in 2015.