Former Observer employee and top sportsman passes away at age of 96

Stan Tichband SUS-170627-135316001
Stan Tichband SUS-170627-135316001

For 49 years an employee of F.J. Parsons Ltd, former owners of the Hastings Observer, Stan Tichband has died at the age of 96.

Stan, who was a top sportsman, joined the local newspaper group as a 14-year-old apprentice back in May 1935. He went to Priory Road School for Boys, leaving at the age of 14 to join F.J. Parsons Ltd. Stan used to tell that one of his first jobs was to cycle each week to an estate agents in St Leonards to collect the copy for that week’s edition, pocketing the bus fare to supplement his wages of 10 shillings a week at the start.

His apprenticeship was interrupted by the war, but on his return in 1946 to Parsons he completed his training to become a linotype operator in the newsroom, where he was to remain all his working life.

After a number of changes of ownership of the Hastings Observer during the latter years of his service, new technology eventually displaced hot metal, and the papers instead were produced by computer.

This change brought about Stan’s redundancy just before his 64th birthday. The Hastings Observer group of newspapers was among the last in the country to move from hot metal to computers and this transition was filmed by Channel 4 and screened in four episodes. Stan was one of the main focuses of interest during the first episode, and as the programme finished with the closing credits playing as he walked down Prospect Place, he paused wistfully to glance back at the old building for the last time.

In his teenage years before the war, Stan was a member of the Imps (the Junior Imperial League, which was the boys section of the Hastings & St Leonards Conservative Association) which met at the Chatsworth Hotel. He joined the Territorial Army in February 1939 and with a group of friends all joined up together at the outbreak of war. Eventually he was sent overseas to India, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Burma. He sailed from Gourock near Glasgow on the Orion to Cape Town which took about a month, and on the way the ship anchored off Freemantle for a couple of days.

They had a two-week camp at Cape Town and then joined the Mauritania which was diverted to Bombay (now Mumbai) when the original destination of Singapore fell to the Japanese. While out there he suffered a bout of malaria. Driving a truck with a gun carrier, Stan went into the jungle, where he saw out the war, rising to the rank of Lance Bombardier.

In his younger days Stan played football, cricket and tennis for the Observer Athletic Club, but it was in 1958 that he was persuaded to make up the number for the club’s bowls team becoming one of the team’s most consistent bowlers until he was forced to give up in 2008 – his 50th season. He captained the side for many years, and was president of the now Observer Bowls Club.

His other love was gardening, helping his father and then taking over their ten rod allotment which they cultivated for 55 years between them.

Following his retirement, Stan joined the Hastings Senior Men’s Forum, and since January 1986 he became a regular attendee of their weekly talks until, two years ago, he suffered a broken hip which unfortunately prevented him from returning to his home of 76 years in Collier Road, which was originally bought for £975.

His funeral took place at Hastings crematorium.

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