ERNIE Teal, whose wartime experience led to him devoting his life to helping to make the world a better place through community and charity work in the East Riding, has died aged 92.
After moving to the village of Walkington, near Beverley, at the end of the Second World War. he became involved in every aspect of village life as he set about making his life and that of others, happy and safe.
He enlisted in the 1st Battalion the Coldstream Guards as a regular soldier in 1937, and while serving in London, took part in the Trooping the Colour that year.
Following the outbreak of war he was part of the British Expeditionary Force that was evacuated from Dunkirk. He was later promoted to sergeant and as a tank commander/wireless operator returned to France in June 1944 a few days after D-Day. He fought across Europe into Northern Germany finally reaching Cuxhaven where, under the command of Colonel “Dickie” Gooch, they took the surrender of the 6th German Paratroop Division.
His wartime experiences affected his entire life and his motivation after that was “Blessed are the Peacemakers”.
He was born George Ernest Teal in Beverley, but was known to everyone as Ernie, and was the eldest of four children of George and Alice Teal who were both from East Riding country stock. His father was brought up in Dalton Holme and his mother came from Hutton Cranswick, near Driffield.
His father had lived at Denton Park, Ilkley, where Ernie Teal’s grandfather was coachman to the Wormald family. When he was killed in an accident involving a horse and his wife died shortly afterwards, George Teal was sent to live with an uncle who was a blacksmith at Dalton Holme.
But Ernie’s love of the countryside was fostered as a boy by his maternal grandmother during walks on Beverley Westwood.
He was educated at the Minster Boys’ School and when he left at 14 he worked as a gardener’s lad until joining the Army. After the war, he returned to work as a gardener when he and his wife Doris settled in Walkington.
Village life was changing in the 1950s and 1960s with an influx of new people but he welcomed them all, and was able to create a sense of goodwill that they all shared working together to provide facilities for the new generation.
Among the many activities that he started and which helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity over more than 40 years was the celebrated Walkington Victorian Hayride.
Mr Teal served on Walkington Parish Council for 47 years and was chairman for some of the time. He was also briefly on the old East Riding County Council until it was replaced by Humberside County Council in 1974.
He was verger at Walkington Parish Church for many years and looked after the churchyard for 25 years.
In 1990 his community and charity work were recognised by the award of the MBE.
His love of the countryside and his ability to describe it led to him being a popular columnist in local newspapers, and broadcaster on local radio.
He and his wife Doris, whom he always called “the love of my life”, married at Beverley Minster in 1941 during a few days leave. They had met in London before the war where he was serving with the Army and she was a Court dressmaker.
Mr Teal is survived by his wife, his daughters Christine and Patricia, four grandchildren, six great grandchildren and by his brother and two sisters.