Tributes to a hero and a gentleman

Henry McCreath
Henry McCreath

A thanksgiving service was held last month for one of north Northumberland’s great men.

Henry Gourlay McCreath MBE died peacefully on January 22, just a few months short of his 100th birthday.

An ex-Far East Prisoner of War, he was the husband of the late Pat and a much-loved father, grandfather and great grandfather.

Born in 1915, he joined the family fertiliser business based at Spittal Point where the works chimney still remains as a landmark to this day.

During the war, as a member of the Territorial Army, he first served in France and then in Singapore where he was taken prisoner by the Japanese and sent to work on the notorious Burma-Siam railway.

Henry continued with his Army interests as a member of the Royal British Legion. He was also a member of the 1939-45 Officers Club, Northumberland Fusiliers and Far Eastern POW Club.

On his return home after the war, he established the major grain trading company HG McCreath, where he remained until retirement, at which time the business was sold.

During this period, Henry played a significant role as a member of the United Kingdom Agricultural Supply Trade Association, becoming its national president in 1972/3.

He served for many years as a magistrate, eventually becoming chairman of the bench. He was Sheriff in 1969-70 to Berwick Mayor Jim Smail.

Henry played sport at a competitive level for Berwick, and occasionally county, including tennis, rugby, hockey and cricket.

He was a member of Berwick Bowling Club and president of the Ellem Fishing Club.

In 2011 he became the second person to be made an Honorary Freeman of Berwick by the town council in recognition of his ‘significant contribution’ to the town.

Mayor Isabel Hunter said: “He was a well respected gentleman in the area and we should all be proud of what he did in both his business and personal life.”