Tributes pour in following death of Saddleworth historian Alan Petford

TRIBUTES HAVE poured in following the death of popular Saddleworth historian Alan Petford on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.

Born in 1953, Alan was a well-respected local historian and retired teacher who was educated at St Chad’s Primary School and Hulme Grammar School before attending Oxford University.

He had battled with cancer for the last year before a recurrence of the disease in the new year led to his sudden and unexpected death.

His funeral will be held on Monday, March 2nd at 1pm at St Chad’s Church, Uppermill.

Mike Buckley said: “Alan was a well-known, well-liked and respected figure not only in Saddleworth and throughout the valleys of the South Pennines.

“He was an active member of many local historical societies, particularly Saddleworth Historical Society, of which he was a founder member. At the age of 13, he attended its inaugural meeting in 1966.

“Alan was a gifted lecturer. His lectures were interesting, entertaining and always well attended; his frequent local history courses were similarly popular. His teaching style was authoritative but also engaging and unassuming.

“He was a recognisable figure in his traditional schoolmaster’s tweeds and Oxford brogues and never failed to be noticed driving around in his 1950s Rover. “Alan was a great companion to his friends. He was a master of conversation. His views about education and politics were passionately held and expounded with a relentless logic.

“His many friends have lost a much loved companion and the district has lost a great historian, teacher and much respected local figure. His like will not be seen again.”

David Makin, a member of Saddleworth Historical Society added: “A charming, eccentric, idiosyncratic man with a diffidence that concealed a formidable range of historical knowledge -always told in an accessible and entertaining way.

“Clad in his unchanging “uniform” of forty year old tweed jacket and brogues and hiking with a rucksack from the mid=forties he was a true original.”

And Peter Fox, Saddleworth Museum curator, said: “Alan will be greatly missed, he was a very unassuming person with an engaging personality who could communicate his knowledge off history and particularly Saddleworth’s to people of all ages.

“His lectures were renowned for their ability to fill the art gallery however obscure the subject might have seemed. One legacy that will live on is all the research that he has done for future generations.”

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