TRIBUTES have been paid to a well-known former town businessman and charity champion who died at the weekend.
Yorkshireman Ernie Bostwick set up home in Hartlepool in 1956 when he landed the job as chief accountant at the GEC Telecommunications factory off Winterbottom Avenue.
The 79-year-old died last Saturday at the nursing home in Cheshire where he had spent the last eight weeks.
He and wife Betty left Hartlepool for Cheshire two-and-a-half years ago when he was diagnosed with dementia.
Widow Betty, who was married to Ernie for 59 years, said even towards the end of his days he classed Hartlepool as “home”.
Betty, 83, said: “We moved there in 1956 and from the very first day we both loved it.
“We met so many nice people up there, we raised our family there and spent most of our life in Hartlepool.
“We lived in Ocean Road and I remember one of the first people we met was Dr Brendan Gallagher, from Peterlee.
“We kept in touch with him and so many friends we made up there, they were wonderful people.”
“We moved to Cheshire a couple of years ago when Ernie’s health deteriorated because our family are over here.
“But even in his final days in the nursing home he used to ask when we were going home, and by that he meant Hartlepool.”
The couple had five children, Valerie Dent, 57, 56-year-old David, Tim, who is 53, Frances Donkin, 49, and 44-year-old Claire Canning.
Hartlepool-born Tim, who lives in Wiltshire, said: “Dad knew so many people, and the best part of his working life was spent working for GEC in Hartlepool.
“His work took him all over the place, but he always returned to Hartlepool because he loved the place.
“He could never settle in the south, and every time he left he was never away for long.
“He spoke so warmly about the people in Hartlepool, and I’m sure a lot of people who remember him.
“Away from work, he had a real passion for Middlesbrough Football Club and devoted so much of his spare time to charity.
“He was honorary president for the Red Cross and was also involved heavily with the Handicapped Children’s Pilgrimage Trust.
“He sat on the Department of Trade and Industry board for the North-East and knew many people from many walks of life.”
Ernie’s funeral takes place at St Gabriel’s RC Church in Alsager, Cheshire, on Monday, September 24, at 10.45am.