WARM tributes have been paid to Nigel Hobson following the sudden death of the Stalybridge charity fundraiser at the age of 54.
Nigel was the secretary/treasurer of Stalybridge Carnival succeeding his father David as the main organiser when he died in 2014.
It was the Hobson family that revived the carnival in 1976 with Nigel’s parents David and Joyce the driving forces behind it and assisted by their sons Andrew, Philip and Nigel.
Nigel, who lived on Elizabeth Avenue, was a former pupil at Gorse Hall primary and Hyde Grammar and a printer by trade.
He latterly started his own printing business and, having a degree in computing, also repaired and maintained them.
Apart from his work with the carnival, Nigel was also involved in Radio Cavell, the radio station at the Royal Oldham Hospital, and was on the team that provided commentaries on Oldham Athletic matches.
In his youth, Nigel was also involved with Mossley Operatic And Dramatic Society.
Mother Joyce spoke of the shock of her son’s death, explaining: “Nigel was plastering a wall for me on the Monday, but was taken ill and on Wednesday night was in theatre at Tameside General Hospital.
“He had been unwell for six weeks but, until he was admitted into hospital, we had no idea how serious it was.”
Tributes were paid at the latest meeting of Stalybridge Town Council where one minute’s silence was held before proceedings began.
Cllr David Sweeton, east area co-ordinator who chaired the meeting, spoke about the Hobson family being synonymous with Stalybridge Carnival.
He said: “In the North West nearly every town had a carnival 100 years ago, but many have fallen by the wayside.
“Stalybridge was going the same way, but the Hobsons picked it up and kept the tradition alive as a family, mum, dad and their siblings.
“Nigel’s death has come as a shock and a real blow and our thoughts are with the family who are grieving at this time.”
Cllr Kevin Welsh also praised Nigel, explained: “He was an absolute community hero and we have lost a true gentleman.
“The Hobson family has run the carnival for 41 years which is incredible. Nigel was at our last meeting talking about the future.
“Last summer I was helping organise a Whit Friday band contest and we didn’t have enough traffic cones and Nigel’s reply was that he would sort some for us.
“It is devastating news for Joyce, Andrew and Philip, and our thought are with them.”
Correspondent editor Tony Bugby had known Nigel since 1981 when he was covering the carnival for the Stalybridge Reporter.
He said: “Nigel was only a schoolboy at the time and the carnival was a true family effort.
“Our paths later crossed when both of us were covering Oldham Athletic matches, Nigel for Radio Cavell and myself for the Oldham Evening Chronicle.
“I hadn’t seen Nigel for many years until we met up again at the last Stalybridge Town Council meeting. It was my first meeting and Nigel was the only person in the room who I knew.
“It was typical of Nigel that he took me under his wing introducing me to others and helping smooth the way for me.
“I was looking out for Nigel before the start of the last meeting and thought it was strange he was not there. It came as a huge shock moments later when Cllr Sweeton announced that he had sadly passed away.”
Nigel’s death has been reported to the coroner and that will delay arrangements for his funeral. When they are finalised, we will post them on the website.
Nigel’s funeral is at Dukinfield Crematorium on Wednesday, December 20 at 1.30pm. It will be followed by a wake at New Stalybridge Labour Club.