Village mourns passing of two residents

Michael Tate

It is with great sadness that we learn of the passing of two of Piccotts End’s best-known residents. Michael Tate, who lived at 121 Piccotts End, and Beryl Wyatt, who lived at Mill Close, had resided in the village for more than 20 years. Beryl was 94 and Michael 78.

Talking about her late husband’s colourful and varied life, Valerie Tate described how Michael was born in Sunderland but had to be moved out while still a baby when the town was bombed in the war. His family relocated to Leeds where Michael always used to say he lived in a drawer!

He eventually went to Leeds City High School

In1956 he started his National Service ending up in Patrington near Hull, where he formed a Scout Group and produced a Gang Show.

In 1958 his first job was as a travelling salesman, covering the length and breadth of the Yorkshire Dales by bus and on foot selling dairy products.

‘He vowed that once he could afford a car he would never walk another step!’ Val recalled with a smile.

Valerie and Michael met in 1954 at Headingley Methodist Church where they joined Headingley Amateur Dramatic Society. Thy married in 1961 and lived in Leeds and had three sons Mark, Simon and Paul. In 1969 they moved to Hemel Hempstead, where Michael took a salesman’s job with Nabisco.

In 1979 he started his own food importing and distributing business from and office in St Albans. He also ran a Christmas Hamper Business.

‘It was a great success, said Val, ‘but it ruined all our Christmases! We had to work right up to Christmas Day packing and delivering them.

‘It was a wonderful time of our life. Work took us all over the world looking for new suppliers.’

They moved to Piccotts End in 1989.

One of the company’s major successes was the introduction of the St Dalfour preserves to the UK market. Something Michael was extremely proud of.

With business prospering Michael was able to hand over day-to-day management to his three sons and spend more time on improving his golf handicap. He was also a keen supporter of Arsenal and Leeds football clubs.  He was very prominent in the local community too and was Chairman of the Governors of a local school, chairman of his local Probus club and an active member of the Residents Association social committee.

Michael and Val had been married for 54 years.

There will be a celebration of his life on Thursday March 24th, starting with a cremation at Garston and followed by a reception at Ashridge Golf Club where Michael was a member. Val would be pleased to welcome anyone that knew him.

“He was a very determined person” she said. “We wouldn’t have done all the things we did without his single-mindedness. He was such fun to be with and we will miss him dearly.’