A WORTHING major who was awarded the Military Cross and played an active role in the community has died at the age of 92.
Matthew Hale OBE, known as Joe, died at The Beeches Nursing Home, in Wordsworth Road, Worthing, on Wednesday, December 29.
Major Hale had lived in the area for more than 60 years, during which time he was made a life vice-president of Worthing Area Guild, now Guild Care.
He had also been chairman of governors at Our Lady of Sion School, in Gratwicke Road.
As well as this, he was known for helping to save Steyning’s town clock and received a Millennium Award for his efforts after he gave a generous donation to Steyning Parish Council to pay for an autowinder.
Sue Rogers, chairman of Steyning Parish Council, said: “He was a very, very charming man and a real gentleman.”
His daughter, Sally Cleary, said: “He lived a very full and eventful life. He will be much missed by his family and remembered with affection by many people for whom, in a hard-working life, he found time to give advice and help.”
Major Hale was the chairman of T.R. Beckett newspaper group, which used to publish the Worthing, Lancing, Steyning and Shoreham Heralds and Littlehampton Gazette, as well as other weekly newspapers in West and East Sussex, before joining the main board of Johnston Press.
Danny Cammiade, chief operating officer of Johnston Press, described him as a “real gentleman”, adding: “I was very fortunate to start my career in Mr Hale’s company and from him I learned many good values about business and people.”
In 1994, Major Hale was made an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to newspapers.
He started his legal career as a solicitor in Worthing in 1935 before serving with the Royal Artillery in the Middle East, North africa and Italy, during World War Two. During the Italian campaign, he commanded 228 Field Battery RA, known locally as “Worthing’s own”.
He was awarded the Military Cross and was mentioned in dispatches for his distinguished war record. He also held the Territorial Decoration.
Major Hale leaves his wife Gwenda, two children, Sheila and Sally, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. His funeral is at Worthing Crematorium on Monday, January 17, at 2.40pm.