Tributes paid after death of community stalwart Stan Bowes

A COMMUNITY stalwart who helped charities and organisations around the world has died after contracting Covid-19.

Stan Bowes, from Diggle, passed away aged 75 on April 18 and leaves behind wife of 46 years Sheila and two children.

Stan Bowes

Stan was a member of the Rotary Club of Saddleworth for almost 30 years, including serving as president three times in 2000, 2008 and 2015.

Fellow past president John Ainley led the tributes, saying: “We often remarked that ‘Stan’s the Man’ – and he was.

“He possessed a wealth of knowledge on most topics and invariably backed up his comments with technical facts and figures that left you in no doubt that he was right.

“Ornithology (study of birds) was probably his first love which he coupled with his interest in photography and he could instantly produce action pictures of birds he had taken in different parts of the world that were of professional quality.

“Astronomy was also his great interest and I would often ask him to identify a bright star or planet in the night sky and he would explain in detail the name, distance and orbit of the object.

“He also studied meteorology in depth and when together at a meeting in Eccles one Saturday morning he checked his phone and told me the wind speed and rain fall in Diggle at that precise moment. Such was his thirst for knowledge and attention to detail.

“Stan and I were inducted into Rotary on the same day some twenty-eight years ago at the Top House in Dobcross, where the Saddleworth Club met before moving to The White Hart.

“It was clear from an early stage that Stan was destined for higher office. He aspired to the prestigious role of District Governor (2016-17) and worked tirelessly to promote Rotary and charity at all levels.

“He was a popular public speaker and attended dinners and meetings throughout the north west and in the Isle of Man. He spoke with authority on climate change and the major contribution made by Rotary International in the eradication of Polio worldwide.

“Such were his commitments that seldom could he enjoy the luxury of evenings in his own home.

“Stan was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship, the highest honour that can be bestowed in Rotary, for his outstanding work in the movement.

“Underlying all this was the devoted family man who was supported by his remarkable wife Sheila. It is said that behind every great man is a great woman and that is certainly the case here.

“He was a dutiful and loving father and grandfather and the Rotary motto ‘Service above Self’ was certainly true of Stan in every respect.

Rotarian Lawrence Perrins added: “He was a very kind and thoughtful man.”

Stan wrote a popular regular monthly column for the Saddleworth Independent. The newspaper’s founder Ken Bennett said: “Stan was one of the newspapers first columnists. He was very popular and he made a valuable contribution to the paper’s success.
“He is a sad loss. Sincere condolences to his family and friends ”

Stan’s commitment to help charities saw him take on some daring fundraising challenges, including walking over London’s Millennium Dome abseiling down The Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Stan was born in County Durham and educated at Grangefield County Grammar School in Stockton on Tees.

He began his working life with Durham County Constabulary before switching paths to become a professional ornithologist in Shetland.

Later, he joined industry in corrugated case-making in Darlington, where he rose to Chief Industrial Engineer in the factory.

In 1970, he moved to Manchester to open a work-study department with Redman Limited, a north-west food/supermarket group. However, in early 1974 the company was taken over the closed down in the area.

He joined WH Shaw and Son, a local pallet factory, again to open a work-study department. He stayed with the company for the rest of his working career, moving up to Production Manager, then appointed to the Board in 1990 as Sales Director and then Managing Director in 1998. He retired in 2007.

During this period, he was heavily involved in the industry at a national and international level. He was a director of TIMCON, the industry’s trade association in Britain, and served as vice-president.

In 1997, he was elected to the board of the European Pallet Association (EPAL) and in 2000 was elected its president, a position he held until he stepped down in mid 2010.

In 2005, he was elected to the board of the MWPCA (the American industry trade association) as international director.

Latterly these positions involved a great deal of travel abroad up to thirty times a year, visiting up to 25 countries from Canada to China.

He has given countless presentations to conferences throughout these countries, primarily on the direct subject of pallets, but also on computer design, forest sustainability and pest control.

Closer to home, Stan was a member of the governing body of Diggle Primary School for about 10 years, including six as chairman.

He was also Civilian Chairman of the 2200 Squadron of the Air Training Corps in Oldham for seven years.

A keen reader and learner, Stan possessed an extensive library of more than 4,000 books and had an abiding interest in the unusual and the bizarre, about which he produced a weekly newsletter which was sent across 10 countries and printed in the Saddleworth Independent.

  • Stan’s funeral will take place at Oldham Crematorium at 11am on Wednesday, May 6 (no more than 10 allowed due to government guidelines during the coronavirus outbreak).

The cortege will leave Stan’s house in Diggle at 10.30am, pass through Uppermill and then along Oldham Road, Grasscroft towards Oldham.

Members of the Rotary Club of Saddleworth will stand on parts of the route to show their respects.

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