Former Wetherby Mayor dies

Former Wetherby Mayor Roger Bealey who died aged 82.
Former Wetherby Mayor Roger Bealey who died aged 82.

Former Wetherby Mayor and Wetherby News columnist Roger Bealey has died aged 82.

Daughters Caroline Millman and Alison Bealey said their father passed away suddenly at St James Hospital on October 26 after an extended period of ill health.

Roger Bealey on his  sponsored charity walk  around Wetherby blindfolded with guide dog Victoria  and Gail Skinner  a  Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in August 2012.

Roger Bealey on his sponsored charity walk around Wetherby blindfolded with guide dog Victoria and Gail Skinner a Guide Dog Mobility Instructor in August 2012.

Roger, who wrote Our Wetherby until 2014, was well known for his trademark hat and friendly manner and for walking the footpaths of Wetherby with his faithful canine companion - Susie Whippet.

Daughter Caroline said: “People will no doubt have noticed his absence of late, due to ill health.”

When Roger took voluntary redundancy from the Leeds Permanent Building Society/Halifax Head Office in 1994, his family assumed that a normal retirement would start.

In fact, it gave way to devoting more time to hobbies and Wetherby through the many clubs, societies, charities and voluntary positions that he took up - including the role of president, secretary, treasurer to name but a few.

Flashback to 2011 and the then Mayor of Wetherby Roger Bealey, left, draws the winning ticket with Peter Brecknock of Peter Howard and Co, Wetherby.

Flashback to 2011 and the then Mayor of Wetherby Roger Bealey, left, draws the winning ticket with Peter Brecknock of Peter Howard and Co, Wetherby.

His late wife, Margaret, once commented that while he helped with watering for the Wetherby in bloom team, he neglected any gardening at home.

“Apparently it was opportune that work had finished, as he simply would not have had time for it,” added Caroline.

“The number of organisations that dad was involved with was a seemingly never ending list and far too many to mention. It may in fact be quicker to list the ones he was not involved in.”

Roger served as a councillor for many years and during his two years as Mayor, from 2002, he had a number of consorts attend the various ceremonies with him.

It was during these events that his family caught a glimpse of how involved he was in local matters.

“We would find ourselves introduced to aspects of his life that we did not know existed,” said Alison.

“He was a man of few words when at home and would prefer the company of a good book or an interesting piece of research instead.”

It was fitting that Roger found the opportunity to combine his love of words, research and Wetherby, by taking over the Our Wetherby column from his dear friend Marie Fox in 2009.

He continued to write for the Wetherby News for five years with his final column in June 2014.

Roger enjoyed being a northern stereotype and often wrote about the subject in his column and blog.

He often used the strap line “Out and about with flat cap and whippet in a Yorkshire Market Town”.

Roger once said in one of his columns “…….the gardens and floral decorations combine with the shops, pubs and restaurants to make Wetherby a blooming good place to live.” He loved Wetherby.

Roger was also the dearly loved grandfather of Evie, ten, Ben, nine, Nick, nine and Eddie, six.

Caroline added: “Susie Whippet continues to live (and be loved) in Wetherby so please do make sure that you give her a tickle behind the ear if you see her.”

A service to celebrate Roger’s life will take place at St James’ Church, Wetherby on Tuesday November 12 at 1.30pm.

Donations in lieu of flowers can be given at the service and are being gratefully received for Marie Curie Cancer Care and The Dog’s Trust, Leeds.