MORE THAN 160 people gathered at St Anne’s Church, Lydgate to pay their respects to popular local man Donald Ian Buckley.
Donald was born on 13 May 1942 to Betty and Ernest Buckley, and lived in the same house in Grotton for his whole life until his death on 19 April 2017.
He attended Oldham Hulme Grammar before going into the fabrics industry, then successfully ran his own business before early retirement.
Donald had a great love of sport and was at one point the youngest ever club captain at Saddleworth Golf Club.
He was also passionate about rugby and horse racing, and could often be found at race courses up and down the country, as well as writing a ‘Pegasus’ column for the Saddleworth Independent.
Donald spent much of his time at The White Hart, Lydgate, and they posted a touching tribute on Facebook following his death from heart problems, and other health issues.
The post read: “The White Hart has lost one of our true legends. For years he has entertained customers and staff alike! There will be many a tear shed and many a glass raised. RIP Donald Buckley, you were and always will be a true Saddleworth gent.”
Mike Keegan, who spent much time with Donald at the pub, said: “He always had a twinkle in his eye, a fine wit and a great taste for mischief.
“He did not suffer fools but once you’d got Donald’s approval you had not only a friend for life but a confidant and a giver of sound advice.
“I can hear him now booming out ‘youuu bloody fool’ if I’d had a go at his beloved Manchester United. That said, he was a very generous, kindhearted man and he would also give praise when he thought it due.
“The way he battled his short illness, for me, was the way he lived his life. Chin up, chest out and on we go.
“The White Hart will never be the same. I’ll miss him greatly and there were others, who were closer to him than me, who will feel the loss much harder.
“I’ll raise a pint of Golden Best in his name and ensure, as he always did, that the bar staff take one for themselves.”
Donald’s funeral took place at St Anne’s, Lydgate on May 15, led by Reverend Duncan Rhodes and including tributes and readings by family members.
There was a committal afterwards, with Donald buried in his family plot in the church’s graveyard.
Donations received in memory of Donald were divided between St Anne’s Church and The Injured Jockeys Fund.