Fond tributes to Peter

TRIBUTES were today paid to Felixstowe campaigner Peter Wheatley - praising him for his proactive stance on many issues.Former newsagent Mr Wheatley, who died at the age of 69, grew increasingly concerned throughout his life that many people stood by and did nothing about the changes in their communities.

TRIBUTES were today paid to Felixstowe campaigner Peter Wheatley - praising him for his proactive stance on many issues.

Former newsagent Mr Wheatley, who died at the age of 69, grew increasingly concerned throughout his life that many people stood by and did nothing about the changes in their communities.

Jan McGeachie, a cousin of Mr Wheatley's wife Mary, said he was “a quiet and thoughtful man, not one prone to shout, unless he considered you were at fault”.

She said: “Pete was like an older brother or surrogate father to me, bringing me out of my shell when I first worked at their corner shop in Felixstowe in the seventies.

“He would often relay tales of his time as he was proud to have been in the RAF and years later, served locally with the Royal Observer Corps.

“He was very vocal on issues he considered needed remedying and was proactive, writing letters, trying to bring people's attention to things he considered wrong in society.”

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Mrs McGeachie, of Gilbersyke, East Yorkshire, said Mr Wheatley had been a family man first and foremost.

She said: “He was very family orientated and could be counted on in a crisis - I well remember once, when Mary was ill in bed with flu, how he left the shop hurriedly in my care so he could take our aunty and her cat to the vet's in an emergency. It was in his nature to always put others first.

“It was Pete who introduced me to photography and very typical of his kind nature, gave me £1 to pay for a provisional licence and during quiet periods on Sunday mornings in the mid seventies, began to teach me to drive.

“Living over the corner shop was very much the centre of their lives.

“Mary and Pete only took one week's holiday each year. Throughout the year and every time they went away on holiday her brother, my aunt and my mother would be there to help serve in the shop - my sister and I also worked in the shop at various times.”

Mr and Mrs Wheatley, of Colneis Road, ran their newsagents in Hamilton Road for 32 years until they retired in 2000.

He had a wealth of interests, with his main concern the coast and carried out research over many years into erosion, sea defences, war-time incidents, coastal communities and their histories.

A funeral service was due to take place today at Ipswich Crematorium North Chapel.

Pay your tributes to Peter Wheatley - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk