A MUCH-LOVED town stalwart who was well known in bowling circles and for his union views has died aged 94.
Hartlepool pensioner Matt Daley died at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, on Saturday, September 20.
Tributes have been paid to the former magistrate, who was awarded the MBE for services to the community, and was also playing bowls right up until last year.
Mr Daley was a big Labour man and town MP Iain Wright, who knew him as a boy as Matt played bowls with Mr Wright’s father Mervyn, paid his respects.
He said: “He was a lovely man, he was the salt of the earth.”
Mr Daley, who was also honorary vice-president of Hartlepool Male Voice Choir, had featured in the Mail regularly as he organised reunions for workers of the town’s railways.
He had worked on the town’s railways from 1936 to 1983 and rose through the ranks from being a “cleaner lad” to secretary, overseeing the locomotive section.
Mr Daley was also a big union man and Mr Wright said: “He was a gentle soul who was passionate about working conditions for working class people, and improving their lot.
“He had a good, long life, but it’s a real shame he has passed and I will miss him very much.”
Mr Daley was a well-known face at Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club, and featured in the Mail in 2010 alongside Herbie Wright and Tommy Robb who were still bowling, despite a combined age of 269.
Bowls centre manager Bill Nicholson paid tribute to Mr Daley, saying: “He was a proper gentleman. “He had been coming to the bowling club since day one, in 1972, he learned us how to play and he used to come in with a big bag of sweets for the lads.
“He was a train driver by trade and was the Fred Dibnah of the bowling world.”
Fellow bowler Tom Jukes said: “He wasn’t just a bowler, he was a friend.”
Mr Daley had been married to Hannah and Jean and had a daughter and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
His funeral takes place tomorrow at St Joseph’s Church at noon.