David Bratt and David Morton
This article is from Signpost 67, Spring 2021
Fred Ogden died on 6 February 2021, aged 86.
Fred was the society's Signpost Officer (Admin) twice, in 1992-93 and again in the early 2000s - a position he embraced with great enthusiasm and commitment.
He gave me (DB) unstinting support when I became Chairman in 2004 and Fred had a particular interest in the well-being of footpaths in his Marple homestead and did not hold back from insisting that the new Chairman should walk the local paths with him!
Fred attended General Meetings without fail and endeared himself to all with his pleasing blend of gravitas and humour. When he spoke, all sat up and took note of his wise opinions.
Fred suffered a major stroke five years ago and over time various medical issues then took their toll but he was ever cheerful when phoned.
It was our intention to drive him this early year to the Lancashire coast to visit his signpost at Browns houses but the Covid regulations had other ideas.
Pre-stroke Fred was very active outside of PNFS organizing world wide tours for a vast number of friends - he would even answer the phone with “Thomas Cook’s Marple Bridge”! and he was also a key player with Marple Probus.
When I (DCM) arrived at Taylor House in 2006, Fred was sharing the job with Keith Wykes (SPO maintenance) and Bill Johnson, who had been SPO from 1998-2002, but now restricted himself to fixing the new plates to the posts. Judging by the laughter from the upstairs front office, in contrast to downstairs, it was the place to be and I readily fell in with Keith Wykes’ invitation to join the signpost team. By late 2007 I found that I’d become the team, as Fred and the others bowed out.
I’ve enjoyed myself enormously as a result and I owe a lot of that to Fred. I was pleased to be able to partly repay him, when he contacted me a year ago about sponsoring S605 at Brown’s Houses, Silverdale, which marked the successful conclusion of a long battle for walkers’ rights on Silverdale Footpath 14 (see Signpost 64 cover). I gladly put a memorial plaque honouring Fred on it and my one regret is that we were unable to visit it together. It is in a lovely spot and will always be “Fred’s sign”.
In conclusion I wish to offer condolences and thanks to Fred’s two sons and their families from all those of us at PNFS, who enjoyed what David Bratt so aptly called “his pleasing blend of gravitas and humour”.
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