ONE of Saddleworth’s best known figures is preparing to celebrate his 100th birthday this month.
Community stalwart Roger Tanner will reach the landmark age on January 24, with low-key celebrations planned with family.
He was born in 1922, the youngest of four children; his sisters Barbara, Selma and brother Tommy have all died.
He was educated privately in Uppermill and then went to Uppingham Independent Boarding School in Rutland.
From there he went to the Royal College of Music in London. Nephew Frederic says Roger was a very good pianist and also played the harpsichord.
In 1942, he joined the Royal Air Force, the same year his father Jack passed away. Jack was one of the founders of Tanners Mill in 1911. The family were previously managers at Royal George Mills before deciding to take ownership of a mill themselves.
Roger was posted to India and became a pilot. After his demob, he joined the family business, based at Greenfield. He eventually became managing director and chairman.
“Roger has always been very outgoing and sociable,” said Frederic.
“Travel was one of his big passions, so too was his music and his collection of classic cars.
“He has been president of Greenfield Cricket Club since 1951 and enjoyed occasionally playing for the second team, like I did. He never made the dizzy heights of the first team.”
The family donated the Tanner Cup, which is played for by the Saddleworth and District League, and Roger remains President of the league.
Roger served as a member of Saddleworth Urban District from 1957-1970 and was Chairman in 1963. From 1975-76, he was a member of Saddleworth Parish Council.
In 2014, he received Oldham Council’s Civic Appreciation Award in recognition of his service and dedication to the local community, and is one of only 10 recipients to date.
He was a founder member of Saddleworth Chamber Concert Society in 1974 and Chairman of the Friends of the Royal Northern College of Music in 1977.
With his interest in local history, he founded Saddleworth Museum in 1962, of which he remains a patron, and also Saddleworth Civic Trust and Saddleworth Historical Society.
He was also Chairman of the Saddleworth Festival of Arts for more than 30 years and patron of many other local societies.
He often opened up his Greenfield home, which he bought in 1951, and gardens and open days, fundraisers and concerts in aid of local charities.
Roger became a Deputy Lieutenant in 1979 and was awarded the MBE for services to arts in Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2003.