The close friend of George Stubbs has paid tribute to a “gentle, intelligent and caring man” after his death, aged 83.
George became a well-known figure in Halifax, and especially around the Piece Hall, after striking up a friendship with Mark Richardson, who owns the Loafers cafe, which George visited every Tuesday.
Mark chronicled the friendship on social media, and invited George to spend Christmas with his family last year.
“I’ll remember the day he walked in, a couple of hours after I found out my granddad had passed away,” Mark said.
“I’ll remember his look in awe of all the people in the shop whenever he was in. He loved the Piece Hall, and I remember him stood on the balcony when Charles and Camilla visited. He loved that day, he spent about five hours in the Piece Hall.
“I’ll remember his little face at Christmas when he was overwhelmed by all the gifts and how many members of my family had come round to have dinner with him.
“And I remember standing at the counter when the shop had emptied and he was about to get his bus, and he didn’t want to leave most Tuesdays.
“It was a Tuesday ritual that I’d see his face pop round the door.
“I’ll miss him. He’s been like a Loafer’s mascot. He was such a lovely man.”
George came from Winnipeg in Canada and for many years worked at Petcraft.
George’s wife of 47 years Irene was a junior school teacher and died in September 2012.
George also had a brother called Arthur who lived in Scarborough who died in April last year.
George had lived alone at his home in Wheatley and was a member of St George’s Church in Ovenden.
It is thought he died of natural causes at his home last Monday.
“He was very gentle, intelligent and selfless,” Mark said. “He always asked about everybody. He was a very humble man, really quiet and caring.
“He had a lovely home and had cared for his wife right up until she passed away, visiting her every day for years when she went into a home.”
When asked about the reaction he has received to George’s death, Mark added:
“It’s been overwhelming. The Piece Hall’s a great community so everyone knew him and asked how he was.
“I put something on Facebook about it and I’ve had loads of cards and texts.
“We’re going to be selling some George Mugs for Age UK, which will be a nice legacy for him.
“It’s something he gave his blessing to do. He thought it was lovely.
“People liked to see him and he liked to see people. It all gave him a purpose again as an older man.
“If he can look down and see George Mugs on our shelves he’ll be absolutely over the moon. I know I will be.”