Former Hartlepool registrar dies at 98

WELL-KNOWN: Alf and Rene Peacock pictured at his retirement in March 1980. Below, at the organ.
WELL-KNOWN: Alf and Rene Peacock pictured at his retirement in March 1980. Below, at the organ.

HARTLEPOOL’S former superintendent registrar – who played an integral role in the Second World War – has died aged 98.

Alf Peacock, who was born-and-bred in the town, married 6,000 couples in a career spanning more than 40 years.

Alf Peacock at the organ

Alf Peacock at the organ

As organist at All Saints Church, Stranton, for more than 50 years, he also played at 5,000 weddings.

Mr Peacock started work at West Hartlepool Council in the clerk’s office as committee administrator in 1934.

He was called up for service in 1939 with the Royal Army Service Corps, and played a vital role in Operation Husky, where the Allied forces took Sicily.

Upon his return from the conflict, he resumed his council work and became registrar and subsequently superintendent registrar around 1966.

He retired in 1980, under the authority’s then-chief executive Nat Abram.

Mr Peacock, who was born in Rydal Street, was baptised at All Saints Church and was its organist from 1949 until 2003.

He had taught other organists Daniel Cook, who is now based at Westminster Abbey, Peter Robinson, who went on to be conductor at the Sydney Opera House, in Australia, and the late Terry Atkinson, who was the organist at Hexham Abbey. Daniel will play the organ at his mentor’s funeral on Monday at noon.

Mr Peacock married his wife Irene, known as Rene, on June 6, 1942.

The couple had lived in Ventnor Avenue and then Oakland Avenue.

Sadly, Rene passed away in 2012 aged 97, a month after their platinum anniversary.

Mr Peacock has been a resident at Billingham’s Allington House care home for the past two years. He died at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, on Wednesday, October 29.

He leaves behind son Mike Peacock, and was also dad to the late David Peacock.

Mike, a 56-year-old BT programme manager married to Anne, who lives in Merlin Way, Bishop Cuthbert, said when he had gone to register his father’s death, staff said they had seen his name on people’s birth certificates.

He said: “He was very funny and a very lovely gentleman who was very well thought-after. He was quite a prominent person in Hartlepool.”

Hartlepool Borough Council’s Chief Executive Dave Stubbs, who remembers Mr Peacock from his early career, said: “Alf Peacock dedicated most of his working life serving the local community as superintendent registrar.

“He took great pride in his work and will be remembered for the high degree of integrity and professionalism he brought to the role. On behalf of Hartlepool Borough Council, I would like to express the deepest of sympathy to Mr Peacock’s family.”