Tributes to a great servant of the town

A stalwart of the Royal British Legion in Batley who was a 'great servant of the town' has died aged 79.

Peter Gater volunteered at the branch for around 60 years, during which time he became chairman, secretary and treasurer.

A funeral will be held at 12.15pm in Batley Parish Church tomorrow after the cherished husband, father and grandfather died on February 14.

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Peter was born in Bulwell in Nottingham on April 9, 1936, to Mabel and Arthur Gater. After Arthur died in 1944 in a Bomber training flight in Palestine, where he served in the RAF, Peter was brought up by his mother and other family members in Nottingham and later Batley.

Peter joined the Marines in 1953 after many years in the Boys Brigade. But in 1954 he contracted Rheumatic Fever and was medically discharged.

In 1955 he met Evelyn Hatttersley while they were working in Taylor’s Mill. The couple later married on March 30, 1957. In 1964, Peter and Evelyn emigrated after he got a job with New Zealand Forest Products. In that year and in 1965, they adopted their sons Tim and Andrew, returning to Batley in 1968.

Peter was a devoted member of Batley Parish Church and served on its committee for 35 years. He was also churchwarden for more than 30 years.

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He worked for Shaw’s in Batley as a records clerk and after his redundancy in 1981 became a street cleaner in Earlsheaton. He was later a storeman for the West Yorkshire Fire Service.

During his years with the British Legion, he organised the Armistice Parade, worked tirelessly for the Poppy Appeal during the years when forces charities were less prominent, and represented Batley as branch chairman at conferences around Yorkshire.

He continued to collect up for the appeal alongside Evelyn until last year.

Peter leaves his wife Evelyn, son Andrew, sister Barbara and grandson Callum, among others.

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Son Andrew Gater, 50, said: “He was such a great servant of the town and he served in so many different places. He was very selfless in that way. He worked all his life. He was a great dad. We never had a great deal of money but we always went on holidays.

“Whatever he did he did it to the best of his ability and with great care.

“He did stuff because he cared about people.”

Peter stood independently in Batley for local government in 1973, gaining around 1,800 votes. He also served as lettings officer for Charles Jones Court sheltered housing in Batley.