THE community in Tynedale is mourning the loss of a retired teacher who was the driving force behind Hexham Community Centre.
Stan Batey dedicated decades of his life to carrying out roles of responsibility at the community hub on Gilesgate, from caretaker and treasurer to chairman and president.
He only stepped back from the centre in 2006 at the grand old age of 83.
But after he suffered a stroke five years ago, Stan’s health began to deteriorate and he died in Dene Grange Care Home in Hexham on September 11, aged 94.
Born in Glasgow, Stan spent his childhood in Gilsland and Kirkhaugh, and first found work with Haltwhistle grocery firm Pattinson & Elliott.
He worked his way up from warehouse to shop to office before he was called up to go to war aged just 19.
During the Second World War, Stan saw active service with the 150th Royal Armoured Corps (York Lancashire) tank regiment in the Middle East and Burma.
After four years of serving his country, he was demobbed in 1945 and then spent a further two years helping to repatriate Polish nationals before he came home.
His return to civvy street saw him dabble in insurance, shop-keeping and wholesale confectionary, before he and a friend took over a wholesale and retail bakery in Southport.
It was during a visit home to his Northumberland roots that Stan met his wife, Hazel, and the couple were married in 1957.
They went on to have two children, Andrew and Kathryn, and eventually sold up the business in Southport to settle in Ovingham.
Having studied at Lancaster University while running his bakery business, Stan’s qualification as a master of education came into its own.
He ended up becoming headteacher at the former Blanchland First School and then at Mickley First School, while Hazel worked as a senior occupational therapist at Hexham General Hospital.
He served as church warden at St Mary’s in Ovingham for 10 years and then at Hexham Abbey for six years.
Hazel died in 1993 and Stan continued to plough his time and energy into helping others, including through the Lantern Club for over 60s and as a founder member of the Stopgap charity for the homeless.
Rotary International awarded Stan a Paul Harris Fellowship “for his work in the community and many acts of kindness” and in 2001, when Hexham Town Council revived the ancient Honorary Steward and Bailiff of Hexham title, Stan was the first recipient.
To this day, many a happy social occasion is held in the Stan Batey Hall within the community centre, where his Christmas Day dinners for those who would otherwise be alone on December 25 remain an annual fixture.
Stan’s funeral took place on October 2 at Hexham Abbey.