Hundreds turn out for funeral of popular Pendle Council worker (58)

The Late Geoff Yates (S)
The Late Geoff Yates (S)

HUNDREDS of people attended a celebration of the life of Pendle town hall worker Mr Geoff Yates (58), and Burnley Crematorium was packed.

Scores of visitors had to stand throughout the service, which marked the success of Geoff’s life. Councillors and council colleagues past and present honoured Geoff’s contribution to the community.

Mr Yates had worked in local government since 1969, initially with Nelson Borough Council and then Pendle Council, which took over the area in 1974. He became the principal committee clerk there.

At the crematorium, friend and former colleague Mr Norman Hadfield played a key role in celebrating Mr Yates’s life.

And when he saw the number of people attending, he said: “What a turn-out! What a tribute! The number of people here today says everything. It’s absolutely wonderful.”

He pointed out that Mr Yates was “kind, considerate, unassuming” and much more, and added: “Geoff was very proud of his local roots as a Nelsonian.”

He made it clear he played key roles on mayormaking and election days, but reckoned that, if he had not worked for the council, he could have made a fortune as a TV comedy scriptwriter!

Mr Yates was a big cricket fan and Mr Hadfield said: “Geoff was known at Old Trafford.” He had also been a member of Nelson Poultry Club since he was 18. “He went there for total relaxation,” he explained.

But he said he loved his job and would be missed. He added: “Geoff, you have left us all too early.” But he stressed the success of his lifetime.

The minister who led the service, the Rev. Peter Golding, said his wife Edwina and sons Neil and Mark, were his biggest fans. He added: “Even though he was given few years, he filled those years with great quality. He fought for what he truly valued.”

Following the service at Burnley, family, friends and colleagues continued the celebration at Nelson Poultry Club.