THE FAMILY members of a much-loved great-grandfather who was always a pillar of the communities he lived in have expressed their great sadness at his death.
Richard (Dick) Gale, the ex-managing director of George Gale & Co Ltd in Horndean, passed away at his Southwick home on Tuesday, December 11, aged 84 – his death was described as peaceful but unexpected by his family.
Richard was the last of the Gale family to work for George Gale & Co, a traditional London Road brewers which has since been redeveloped into homes, and his retirement ended an association with the company that started with his family in 1847.
In 2006, the Gales brewery flag was lowered for last time – bringing to an end 160 years of brewing history.
It established itself as a beer powerhouse, producing fine ales for more than 100 pubs across the wider Portsmouth area.
Richard’s son Richard, 52, said the family man lived in Horndean for most of his childhood, and that the village and brewery were the centrepiece of that childhood.
He was the director of Highbury College in Cosham for many years and served as a magistrate covering Havant and Portsmouth.
Son Richard said: ‘My dad led a full and sociable life and right up to the end he was entertaining his family and friends on a regular basis.
‘His death was unexpected, however peaceful, and he will be missed by all who knew him.
‘He was born on September 17, 1934, to Richard Walter Gale, then managing director of Gales, and Thelma.
‘Having been evacuated during the war to Dorset, he was later sent to Lancing College where he was educated until 18.
‘Following his period of National Service with the Royal Hampshire Regiment which saw him serve on the gold coast and west Africa he returned to the UK and joined Mobil Oil in London, while remaining in the Territorial Army.
‘He soon met his wife to be, Elisabeth, and they married in 1960. They had a long and happy marriage spanning some 52 years, through to Elisabeth’s death in 2012.
‘By coincidence Elisabeth’s father was Sir Alan Walker, the then chairman of The Bass Brewery, cementing two brewing families.’
After his time in London Richard’s father decided it was time for him to begin his brewery training and he was sent to Norfolk to work with a regional brewer.
Upon returning to Horndean he joined Gales in 1961 where he stayed until his retirement in 1992.
He also had two other children, Nicky, 56 and Cathy, 55.
He had seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Son Richard added: ‘He had a great knowledge of the local history and characters working in the licensed trade during this time – a period of great change for the industry.
‘He had many stories from his years with the brewery, such as his father having a bet with another local brewery director at Brickwoods, who was on the same Isle of Wight ferry as him, over the ferry’s arrival time.
‘The loser had to buy a pub off the other.
‘He was a great supporter of the Brewers Society and a connoisseur of fine wine, he had lived life to the full.
‘He had been a regular steward at The Royal Bath and West Show and attended many shooting parties across the UK.’
Richard’s funeral is on December 27 at Southwick Church at 2.30pm.