A stalwart member of Bradford Catholic Players has died, leaving a 65-year legacy of memories – and props.
Arthur Walker died aged 87 after a lifetime of being on and off stage behind the scenes with one of the city’s most established theatrical groups.
Born off Leeds Road, Mr Walker, who had been a member of Bradford Catholic Players for 65 years, left St Peter’s School when he was 14 to become an apprentice engineer.
At the outbreak of the Second World War he signed up to join the Army before his 16th birthday where his talent for all things mechanical soon saw him deployed on the vehicle-side of operations. He was in Normandy on June 8, 1944, with support transport – two days after the landings.
His son Martin Walker, who is now chairman of the Bradford Catholic Players, said: “Dad was proud of serving his country like he did but he lost many good friends so he never really spoke much about it. He wasn’t a fighting man.”
After being demobbed from Germany in 1947 he returned to Bradford to become a textile mechanic with a number of woollen trade companies including G F Raspins in Canal Road, Shipley.
Mr Walker became involved in the St Clare's Parish in Fagley in 1949 and his creative talents was the start of his theatrical career.
He had a flair for comedy and for making props – 40 years later and the pig's head he made from polystyrene is just one of many props still making appearances in productions.
“This was dad’s 65th year as a Catholic Player,” said his son. “His talents were in the set and prop making.”
In the mid-60s Mr Walker went to work with Joseph Dawsons, of Leeds Road, where he stayed until he retired in 1990.
As well as his son Martin, he leaves a daughter Janet, five grandchildren and other close family. Dorothy, his wife of 50 years, pre-deceased him in 2006.
Mr Walker’s friends at the Players will be singing a few of his favourite pieces at the Requiem Mass to celebrate his life at the Church of St John the Evangelist, Cooper Lane, on Friday at 11.15am.
Donations in his memory will go towards the British Heart Foundation and the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford where he spent some time before going to live at Well Springs Nursing Home in Heaton.