DAVID CHARLESWORTH, a very good friend to these columns and to Chris Lloyd’s, has died. He was 66.

David had been the Royal Mail’s delivery manager in Barnard Castle, retained a fervent interest in local GPO history and ran a website devoted to it. He was also an enthusiastic military historian.

Particularly he was helpful with the unforgettable story of Matt Bendelow, a Shildon miner who lost a leg on Green Howards service during World War I, returned to the pit before becoming postman, and sub-postmaster, at Bowes.

Indomitable on crutches, Matt’s nine-mile walk – as postal people call it – covered six days a week across some of Teesdale’s remotest terrain. Including the stepping stones across the River Greta, he walked the walk for 30 years.

At 6am he’d meet the mail train up from Darlington; at night he’d operate the village telephone exchange – Bowes 1.

David even sourced Matt’s story from a 1937 edition of Post Office Magazine which revealed that he was also poultry farmer, pig breeder, champion rabbit exhibitor, shoemaker, chimney sweep, castle custodian and much else.

Only one leg to stand on, he’d also been Bowes billiards champion – “good as owt,” they reckoned.

The story of the one-legged postman also led to memories of George Vitty, the one-armed postman, whose walk was around Fir Tree, on the edge of Weardale.

For David that was closer to home, because it’s where he most recently lived with Audrey Littlewood, his partner. His funeral was on March 18 at St Philip and St James church, Tow Law.

THE Rev Peter Elliott, who has also died, was similarly appreciated by both me and young master Lloyd, but perhaps more familiar in Hear All Sides.

His interests were many, few more passionate than what one of these columns once called “municipal nomenclature”.

Peter had been born and raised in West Hartlepool, as then it was, admitted to being “quite cross” when that borough – historically in County Durham – was summarily subsumed into the new-fangled county of Teesside.

Then he moved to Eaglescliffe. The post office said it was in Cleveland; Peter’s letters were invariably headed “Eaglescliffe, Co Durham.”

Cleveland also claimed Yarm, across the river. For Peter and many others it remained in North Yorkshire. Then there was the amorphous Tees Valley – “where’s that?” he’d demand – and, worse yet, Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Once he took considerable pleasure in correcting one of these columns’ corrections – concerning the number in Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes laid his hat – on another occasion he upbraided the editor for use of the phrase “throws of passion”. “Throes,” said Peter, dispassionately.

He’d also disapproved of the paper’s use of what he thought American English, not least the word “gotten”. In a report of Nelson Mandela’s funeral, we’d talked of a casket. It wasn’t, said Peter, it was a coffin.

We’d met just once, in 2009 when the At Your Serviced column attended St Mary Magdalene’s parish church in Yarm where Peter was a non-stipendiary curate.

He’d trained as a chemist, he said, had been rebuked by a tutor for an essay that the lecturer thought “waffle”. Peter took heart: “I thought then that perhaps I should have been a journalist.”

He was 87, his funeral yesterday at St Mary’s. It meant the cortege crossing the Tees and, whatever the danglers and the fiddlers suppose, the county border, too.

LT Col Mordaunt Cohen was 101 when he received the MBE from the Queen, 102 when he died, peacefully, on March 16.

Scion of a well-known Jewish family on Wearside, he was 21 when qualifying as solicitor in Sunderland – the Jewish News supposes it to have been 16, precocious even for the Cohens – but soon afterwards volunteered for war service, starting as a gunner, after learning from German-Jewish children in a Sunderland hostel of the horrors of their homeland.

On VJ Day, he and his brigadier shared a flask of brandy which the latter had carried throughout the war in readiness for such a celebration.

Lt Col Cohen’s wife Myrella, 11 years his junior and sharing his birth name, became even more well known in North-East legal circles, the first woman barrister in Newcastle and, at 44, the country’s youngest circuit judge.

Judge Cohen appeared the axiomatic antithesis of the adage about taking no prisoners. “Thirty years?” Judge Denis Orde once observed at Durham Crown Court when commending a long serving police officer. “That sounds like one of Judge Cohen’s more lenient sentences.” She died in 2002.

Lt Col Cohen, honoured late in life by Sunderland University, was appointed MBE for his work in educating younger generations about the horrors of conflict and of genocide.

His particular passion, said the Jewish News, was teaching about the Jewish contribution to the war effort. He has been buried in Israel.

THE column a few weeks back compared the Toby Carvery breakfast – in this case in Darlington – with that at Wetherspoons, this one the Ralph Fitz Randall in Richmond. Toby was much preferred.

Last week we again took breakfast at the Ralph Fitz Randall, in the company of our newest grandson– it’s greatly child friendly – his brother and parents.

At the time he was four weeks and four days old and it was his sixth Wetherspoons, the others in London and some already visited several times.

Though personal preference remains elsewhere, it clearly doesn’t run in the family. They start as they mean to go on.

BREAKFAST over, we head for ten o’clocks to a coffee morning at Richmond Town Hall in support of Herriot Hospice Homecare.

The Wensleydale Writers group, of which I remain president, is topping up £1,000 already raised from sales of its anthology with another £500 cheque presentation.

A flyer on the tables promotes a sale the following day at the intriguingly named Thief Hall at Thornton-le-Moors, between Northallerton and Thirsk, with no clue of how it came by its larcenous name.

It’s a wedding and events venue in Thief Hole Lane. The website says that when the main road from London to Edinburgh ran that way in the 12th century, robbers would hide in a deep hole thereabouts before holding up the stagecoach.

The flaw, as happily they acknowledge, is that stagecoaches weren’t introduced for another 500 years. No blagging that one, anyway.

WE also had a Wetherspoons breakfast in Crook the other day, all but chocker at 9.30am, shoogly table just about the only one left and imbalance rectified by judicious deployment of the company magazine. Everything has its uses.

WE’D contemplated a fortnight ago what might be supposed arranged marriages. Derek Wasson, a reader, recalls on a radio programme a few years back the proposal that the cricketer Rachel Heyhoe Flint tie the knot with Long John Silver.

She would then become Heyhoe Silver.

Eric Gendle adds to the banns – without just cause or impediment but, it must be said, from the pages of Private Eye – the notion that the actress Tuesday Weld marry the son of actor Frederick March.

She would then be Tuesday March the second.