14 Members and 3 wives attended Bill’s funeral at Stonefall on 1st July. His kitchen colleague Bill McNicol interrupted his holiday to attend. Our Past President Reverend Mark Godfrey conducted the service and gave the eulogy.
Bill Blades was born in Middlesborough and after the early death of his mother was partly brought up by his much older sister Edna who was to celebrate her 100th birthday on 2nd July. He went to Leeds University and after taking his P.G.C.E. specialized in junior education , eventually becoming a Deputy Head in Bramley and then Head in Gipton, not the easiest area to work. He talked about Teesside in the War and his early teaching experiences in various talks to the Forum. Bill was a serious student of history, language and literature; he spoke at least 4 languages and had been disappointed in his 8o’s when a Polish evening class which he had joined collapsed because of lack of support.
He met his future wife Kathy at a Saturday night dance in 1952. They arranged to meet again at the same venue the following week but George VI died and all cinemas and dance halls were closed. Bill did not know Kathy’s address and only made contact again with great difficulty. In her later years Bill cared devotedly for Kathy when she developed dementia. At this time Bill found solace and companionship after Kathy’s death in the Forum as a kitchen supremo dispensing his own brand of sombre good humour, as a speaker of wit and authority and as Chairman in 2012—2013. Bill claimed to regard this role as a demotion from his serious job in the kitchen. He also took coffee at Lucinda’s on Harlow Hill with the small group he termed “Last of the Summer Wine”.
A collection for Alzheimer’s research was taken after the service. Many Forum Members went back to 23A Harlow Oval afterwards and are most grateful to Bill’s sons, daughter in law and granddaughters for their hospitality.
As Reverend Mark Godfrey said he had enjoyed a life well-lived and on Tuesday was given a fitting farewell.
JOHN TAYLOR PROGRAMME SECRETARY