Tributes to teacher Brian

Brian Butcher
Brian Butcher

A STAITHES man who taught youngsters from across the district for 40 years has died.

Brian Butcher (67), will be remembered by generations of Whitby students as an inspiring English and drama teacher at Caedmon School. He died peacefully in hospital last Friday.

Mr Butcher’s twin loves of music and drama saw him as the life and soul of a wide array of activities which continued right up to his final illness.

Shortly before Christmas he played concertina by candlelight at the Roxby church carol service and last September he was the impresario of live music at the Staithes Arts and Heritage Festival, assembling a variety of street buskers and a memorable night-time outdoor concert on the staith featuring folk, flamenco dance, the Whitby Community Choir and the 12-strong guitars of the local OM Guits band.

In Hinderwell, he was for years a leading light in its drama group, touring musicals around the county and staging the village’s annual Christmas panto, writing, directing and acting, invariably as a barrel-chested Dame.

A folk festival stalwart in Whitby, Saltburn and throughout the North East, Brian sang with the Whitby Community Choir, the Staithes Fishermen’s Choir and was a founder of the Men of Staithes Choir as well as a regular at the Irish folk sessions at Staithes’ Cod and Lobster pub and acoustic nights at the Captain Cook Inn.

When he lost the best of his voice to cancer of the oesophagus two years ago, his involvement in local activities never faltered from driving the Staithes community bus to putting on concerts and benefits and taking up the guitar with the OM Guits.

Friend Grant McKee said: “Originally from Somerset, after arriving at Caedmon School, he made his home in Staithes where he was a hugely popular figure.

“Cyclist, walker, traveller, pub quizzer, party giver, natty dresser and bon viveur, Brian was a man of mischievous good humour, laid-back charm, instinctive generosity to young and old.”

Mr Butcher leaves behind his former wife Sylvia and their three children, Lucy, Tom and Amy.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday in Hinderwell Methodist Chapel at midday and will be followed by cremation at Teesside Crematorium.