The community of Alnwick is today mourning the loss of one of its most highly-regarded and well-known figures.
Eric Hately, who was vice-chairman of both the Alnwick Christmas Lights and Alnwick Shrovetide Football committees and involved in many of the town’s activities, died at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, last night, aged 70, after a short illness.
He was a keen sportsman, playing at full-back for Alnwick Town, and was heavily involved in the club, having started the junior section in 1988 and becoming its president.
Eric had a long and successful career as an electrician and used his skills as a key member of the Christmas lights team.
Chairman of Alnwick Christmas Lights, Gordon Castle, who knew Eric from their days at Alnwick Secondary Modern School, told the Gazette: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of a great personal friend of many years’ standing and a fine Alnwick citizen, vice-chairman of Alnwick Lights Committee for many years. He did a great deal for his town without seeking recognition or reward, save the pleasure it gave him to please others. The community has lost a great man and I am deeply saddened by the loss of a highly respected man. He was a couple of years above me at school but was known by many as a footballer of note.
“I offer my deepest sympathy to his wife Jayne, who is also our Christmas Lights secretary, and to his sons Peter and Robin.”
Tom Deedigan, who helped Eric set up the Alnwick Town Juniors, said: He was a really nice guy, who did a lot for the town, not just the football club. It is a tragic loss and he will be sorely missed.”
Kevin Thompson, who owns Thompson’s Opticians, said: “Eric was a thoroughly genuine, all-round nice guy, always willing to help others. I am sure anyone who knew him will have an amusing memory to tell. Ironically, we actually met in hospital 32 years ago. Whenever we saw each other afterwards, we always joked that although a bit painful for both of us, it was one of the funniest few weeks we ever had.
“Subsequently, he met and married Jayne who has worked for my company for many years and they found great happiness together. Our thoughts are with Jayne and Eric’s family.
“He will be sadly missed by the whole community and I am honoured to have been his friend.”
Eric leaves his wife Jayne, sons Peter and Robin, and granddaughters Mia and Zara.