TRIBUTES have been paid to a popular decorated leading figure in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Former senior RAF officer and deputy Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, John Bates OBE, from Ipstones, died earlier this month after a short illness. He was 81.
“He was one of the most pleasant and accommodating people I ever came into contact with during my time as editor of the Leek Post & Times and later Your Leek Paper, and in more recent times news editor at Moorlands Radio,” said Gary Shenton.
“John always greeted you with a warm friendly smile on his face and made you feel comfortable in his presence.”
The former RAF pilot served with the 163 (City of Manchester) Squadron between 1955 and 1957, flying a Vampire T2 aircraft.
In 1982 he was commissioned into the Staffordshire Wing ATC RAF VR (T) as Flying Officer.
Two years later he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and then in 1986 became Squadron Leader.
Following his promotion he served as Wing Commanding Officer Commanding Staffordshire Wing, Air Training Corps (ATC), between 1988-1995.
Mr Bates retired from uniformed service with the ATC in 1995 but between 1995 and 2005 he became a civilian instructor with 60 (Leek) Squadron Air Training Corps.
In 1995 he was awarded the OBE (Military Division) for service to the ATC.
The following year he was appointed deputy to the Lord Lieutenant of Staffordshire, the Queen’s official representative in the county.