Family pays tribute to party loving ‘Ditch’

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Tributes have been paid to one of Whitby’s larger than life characters this week.

Richard Weatherill, known as ‘Ditch’ to his family and friends, died suddenly last Sunday aged 51 leaving behind a legion of devastated family and friends.

This week his family gathered to pay tribute to the man who loved nothing more than a beer and a laugh.

Ditch was born to parents Sylvia and the late Robert Weatherill.

He grew up at Green’s Yard and The Ropery and attended East Whitby and Eskdale Schools.

He was the third child after Elizabeth and Robert and has a younger sister, Jeannie.

After leaving school he had a number of jobs, including at Billy Wilson’s before joining the rigs as a roughneck.

He has spent over 30 years working on land rigs and worked his way up to rig superintendant.

When Whitby began to see the decline of the fishing industry Ditch got jobs for many who ended up out of work.

Son Richard told the Gazette: “He did a lot for lads who were going nowhere in life. I can name 20 people and he gave them a chance and now most of them are loaded.

“He loved his job and it took him to South Africa, France, El Salvador - he did not care where he went, he loved it. He had some mint stories.

“He would take toys and our old clothes out for the kids in Africa.

“There was a football he took that was there for years and he gave a lad a pair of pants and said you would have thought it was a Ferrari.”

Away from work his other main love was an eclectic mix of music and football.

He was a keen Arsenal fan and had been since a child.

Ditch played himself when he was at school and later on for local pub teams such as The Fleece and The Welly.

He also played pool for various pub teams, winning an array of trophies.

Ditch had a go at fishing and golf and was very competitive - when it was something he was good at.

Richard added: “He always had to win. He bought a fishing boat with his brother but he was rubbish at golf.

“If it came to something he was good at he would play for money every time because he knew he would win.

“If he wasn’t very good then he wouldn’t. I took him to Raven Hall to play there and every ball he hit went off the edge of the cliff. He was having a fight with a blade of grass.”

His family say he loved to socialise and go out for a drink with his mates and family.

Jeannie added: “He was respected by many and we have had an outstanding amount of tributes.”

Richard added: “There wasn’t a person in this town who didn’t know him or hadn’t heard of him.”

He leaves six children, Shane, Stephen, Richard, Olivia, Anthony and Grace and grandchildren Alfie, Freya, Buster and another grandson on the way.

The funeral service is Wednesday at St Mary’s Church at 10.45am.