Family pay tribute to a giant of a man and former Express stalwart

Ray Dale
Ray Dale

A family has paid a glowing tribute to a devoted dad and stalwart of the Wakefield Express.

Former sales director Ray Dale passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on August 4.

Ray Dale

Ray Dale

Mr Dale, of The Grove, Normanton, rose through the ranks from an advertising representative in 1954 to sales boss of the Yorkshire Weekly Newspaper Group (YWNG) before retiring in 1986.

His daughter, Judith Walker, speaking on behalf of the family, said: “He was amazing to be honest. If anybody ever needed anything he was there. We were blessed to have a giant of a man as a dad, grandpa and grandad.”

“Everybody has said what a lovely, kind, caring and wonderful gentleman he was. He had an amazing sense of humour and he kept that right until the end.”

Former YWNG editorial director and colleague Richard Taylor also wished to pay tribute, adding: “I’ll remember Ray fondly as a man who won arguments with an engaging charm and a huge smile. He was deeply loyal to YWNG which he served for many years in a variety of posts. At the same time he was loyal to the staff who worked under him which meant they held him in great affection.”

Mrs Walker said while work was very important to her father, he was a committed family man no matter how busy he was. He was married to Enid (nee Appleyard) for nearly 60 years.

She said: “They were soul mates and childhood sweethearts. He was a choirboy at Normanton Parish Church and spotted mum in the congregation. He thought he was going to marry her and years later they did after meeting up again at the Dodsworth Youth Club in Normanton.”

The couple were just two weeks short of their diamond wedding anniversary in 2012 when Mrs Dale passed away. Mrs Walker praised Mr Dale as a devoted dad to her and sister Gill. He also doted on his three grandchildren.

Away from work and family, he was a life-long and dedicated member of Normanton Parish Church, a life member of Normanton Amateur Operatic Society, now Five Towns Musical Theatre Society, and worked behind the scenes at the Wakefield Festival and Wakefield Theatre Club. Part of his duties included helping organise the Miss Wakefield beauty pageant. He also judged the Wakefield heat of the Miss GB contest in 1974.

Mr Dale is survived by his daughters Judith Walker and Gill Murray, grandchildren Oliver Walker, Laura and Daniel Murray. His funeral takes place at Normanton Parish Church on High Street at 11.45am on Wednesday, August 20. A reception will follow at the church.