TRIBUTES have been paid to the town’s longest serving member of the Labour party, who has died.
Bill Duale, of Park Avenue, passed away last Monday (February 6), aged 84 after being ill for some time.
He joined the Labour party in Hastings in 1948, the same year he tied the knot with his wife Hilda.
Mr Duale was born in Earl Street and was the youngest in his family, having an elder sister called Lillian and a brother, Fred, who died just a month before Mr Duale passed away.
His father was made deaf after serving in the Middle East during the First World War and on the day Mr Duale was born he landed a job building the Woolworths store in Hastings.
Mr Duale’s first job was at Paxmans, an engineering firm in Priory Street, when he was 14.
He worked there for just one year after developing impetigo, a highly contagious bacterial skin infection, and had to get another job.
Mr Duale then worked as a projectionist in the Cinema Delux, until he was called up to join the Marines.
He was stationed at Lympstone in Devon. In 1945 he met his future wife Hilda and they married three years later.
He then worked for Laings and was involved in building the houses in Blackman Avenue, St Leonards.
As well as joining the local Labour party, Mr Duale founded Ore and St Helen’s Camera Club, along with Frank Barrett and Jack Sargent.
His widow said: “The club was heavily involved in the Dordrecht exchange. This changed both our lives, and after 46 years our friendship with our Dutch friends is still strong today.”
Mr Duale was also governor at Churchwood School for 10 years. He served as a magistrate in Hastings for 23 years and became a lifetime member of 1066 Jazz Club.
Mrs Duale added: “Bill was a great do-it-yourself man and the home is full of his inventions.
“All the activities we became involved in have brought us wonderful friendships and a marvellous life.”
Former Hastings MP, Michael Foster, said: “Bill was a real stalwart, not just with the Labour party but with the local community in Hastings.
“His commitment to all that he did was absolute.”
Kelvin Godfrey, chairman of Ore and St Helen’s Camera Club, said: “Bill was a founder member of our club and worked incredibly hard to steer and guide the club towards success in its early days.
“His contribution and enthusiasm for photography took the club forward, taking it from strength to strength.”
Mr Duale’s funeral will be held next Friday (February 24) at Hastings Crematorium from 2pm.