Obituary: Ronald Nichols

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Ronald Nichols

THE funeral service for Ronald Nichols, of Edinburgh Crescent, Bourne, took place at Marholm Crematorium, the Rev D Clarke officiating.

Members of the Royal Navy Association provided a guard of honour at the service. Donations were made to Lincs and Notts Air Ambulance.

Ronald died at Peterborough City Hospital, aged 87.

Born in Diggle, one of seven villages in the area of Saddleworth, West Riding, Yorkshire, he was educated at the local primary school and secondary school in the village of Uppermill.

He became head boy, but was unable to pursue further education due to financial constraints, and consequently sought employment at the age of 14. He gained employment as office boy at Robert Fletchers Paper Mill in the village of Greenfield, cycling the five mile journey on his trusty Hercules bike.

Hilda Shaw, who had been a scholar at the secondary school he attended, later started work at the paper mill and romance blossomed.

The Second World War interrupted proceedings, and Ron began his naval service as a signalman on Z class destroyers. He travelled around the world, but saw most action on the Atlantic Russian Convoys where conditions were incredibly harsh.

At the end of the war, the government ‘loaned’ him to the Australian Navy, and he sailed to Freemantle (Perth) where he was based for a year.

Following demobilisation in April 1947 he married Hilda at Saddleworth Church and returned to work for Robert Fletchers. Promotions followed, and Mavis was born, with Ken and Jeff completing the family later.

Normal family life took over, and at work he became a manager. All three children in turn married and life seemed set on course, but tragically Mavis died and nothing would ever be the same again.

In 1983 semi-retirement brought Ron to Bourne, where he started work with Delaine buses as an inspector, and became well-known among the locals.

He was involved with Probus and the RNA and enjoyed their regular meetings and comradeship. Whist drives in surrounding villages became a regular part of his social life.

He was also invited to return to Russia and Denmark in recognition of the gratitude shown by these countries for the part he took in the Second World War.

He finally retired in 1997, and took up gardening, especially tending the lawns. In 2004, almost 60 years later, he returned for a visit to Freemantle, with his wife Hilda.

During the last decade of his life he encountered hospitals several times, undergoing operations with bravery and immense strength of character, making remarkable recoveries.

This determined spirit to ‘come through’ was evident to the end, and reflects the quietly tough gentleman he was.

Family mourners included: Mrs H Nichols (widow), Mr and Mrs K Nichols, Mr and Mrs J Nichols; grandchildren Dr Kate Nichols, Jack Nichols and Harry Nichols, Mrs J Mason, Mrs C Brown, Mrs K Cross, Mrs R Rawson, Mrs H Holiday, Mrs J Clark, Mrs M Jackson, Miss A Jackson, Mr T Jackson.

Sympathisers included: Mr A Jones, Capt W Smedley, Mr B Bailey, H Middleton MBE, Mr D Mitchell, Mr R Pawlett, Brenda White, Mr C White, Mr H Johns, Mrs M Johns, Mr J Bryce, Mr T Kelby, Mrs D Kelby, Mr R Barthorpe, M Coles, Mr and Mrs A Clark, Mr and Mrs B Clark, Mr K Delaine-Smith, Mrs C Delaine-Smith.

Mr B Wand, Mr A Derry, Mr M Mosden, Mr P Chubbuck, Mrs J Chubbuck, Mrs M Rodgers, Mr and Mrs M Craig, Mr and Mrs R Watson, Mr and Mrs B Jenkins, Mrs J Delaine-Smith, Mr and Mrs D Greenfield, Mrs B Chester, Mr and Mrs A Argyle, Rebecca Condon, Mr and Mrs L Lord, Mr J Woodward, Mrs N Gray, Mr J Templeman, Mr J Eden, Mr and Mrs J Spooner, Lesley Prue, Mr and Mrs Ernie Wyer, Mr and Mrs Eric Wyer, B Johns (representing Mrs E Johns), J Bryce (Dot and Ted Kelby), K Delaine-Smith (Mrs C Delaine-Smith and Delaine Buses).

Mr and Mrs A Clark (Mr and Mrs C Clark), Mr P Chubbuck (Mrs J Chubbuck), Mr and Mrs D Greenfield (Mrs B Chester), Mr and Mrs Eric Wyer (Mr and Mrs A Argyle and Rebecca Condon), Mr and Mrs L Lord (J Woodward), Mr J Eden (Mr and Mrs J Spooner).