FAMILY and friends paid tribute yesterday at the funeral of Des Wilson, who died this month aged 87.

Des was born at Slatey Ford, Tunstall (near the reservoir next to Wolsingham), on November 10, 1932. Apart from a brief spell of National Service and his final year, which was spent in a nursing home in Stanhope, he lived his entire life in Wolsingham.

After leaving school, he worked for Harry Pickering, who was the auctioneer at Wolsingham mart.

He was called up for his National Service with the RAF at the age of 18, and after completing that in the early 1950s, he started work in the pay office at Wolsingham Steelworks.

He worked there for around ten years until the early 1960s, when he left to start on his own with the family milk round. From the early 1960s to his retirement in 1997, he was the milkman in Wolsingham and the surrounding farms and hamlets.

He was well known by everyone in the village, and employed generations of people, many of who went on to become good friends.

The Northern Echo:

Des Wilson was known by many people and was well liked and well respected

He joined the Wolsingham Show committee in 1952 and was the longest-serving member of the committee when he died. For the latter part of his involvement with the show, he was appointed as a patron, along with his brother, Morris.

He was a member of Wolsingham Parish Council in the 1960s, and from 1967 until 1976, he represented Wolsingham on the Weardale Rural District Council. From 1976, when local government was reorganised, he represented Wolsingham on Wear Valley District Council as an independent. He was re-elected seven times, before eventually retiring and standing down in 2007.

Derek Jago, who represented the Escomb ward on Wear Valley District Council for eight years until 2007, also paid tribute. Mr Jago said: “During my time as a councillor I had the pleasure of getting to know Councillor Des Wilson.

“Over many years Des and his family were heavily involved with Wolsingham and the surrounding communities in roles including, agriculture, dairy/milk delivery and particularly Wolsingham Agricultural Show, the largest annual show in Durham County and beyond.

“Des was a hard worker and a very personable gentleman with a great sense of humour, loved and respected by many.”

A private funeral service was held at Wear Valley Crematorium yesterday and donations were collected for Crosshill Nursing Home.