A FORMER local fisherman and Glaxo worker has died on Orkney at the age of 78.

Anthony ‘Tony’ Butcher, a dedicated fly fisherman, passed away on Monday, February 5 at St Rognvald’s House in Kirkwall, the capital of the islands.

Tony was born in Arnside on July 9 1945 - two months after VE Day - to parents Norman and Nora, who lived at Ruskin Avenue, on the Dalton new estate.

He went to school at Goose Green, Dalton, and later attended Dowdales; enjoying nature, playing rugby, ornithology and country pursuits. His younger siblings, Brian Butcher, and Norma, are still live in Dalton.

In his younger days, Tony was a keen pigeon racer for Dalton. He was also reluctantly roped in as a darts player for various pubs in Dalton - despite rarely revealing the handicap of having very limited sight in one eye.

In the 1960s, he worked at K-Shoes at Askam-in-Furness, which was where he met his first wife-to-be Mary Patricia (Pat) Hayes, of Millom

They were married for 18 years, having two children, Maria and Ellis.

In the 1960s, Tony also lived briefly in Kirkby-in-Furness, where he and Pat one day combined their shoe-making skills to rare effect.

Out on a walk, their whippet dog, Meg, went after a rabbit and misjudged a barbed-wire fence; cutting her entire stomach open. 

The enterprising young couple quickly got her home and then skilfully sewed her back together. A late-arriving vet praised them both for their sewing technique which had saved their young pet's life.

Tony and Pat lived in Hartington Street, Dalton, before moving to Chapel Street.

By the late 1990s, Tony lived latterly in Ireleth-in-Furness, where he enjoyed fishing and fly-tying. A lifelong supporter of Manchester United, he was fond of The Bridge Inn, Dalton; the long-gone Queens Arms in Queen Street, Dalton; and the now closed Prince of Wales, Broughton Road, as well as The Railway Inn, Ireleth.

He long maintained ties with family from Askam-in-Furness, especially his beloved late uncle, Jack 'Basher' Barker.

In the mid-1980s, Tony worked briefly for VSEL, but his main career was at Glaxo in Ulverston, where he worked as a process worker, often travelling to work on his motorbike.

He was well-known and liked among the Furness fly-fishing and fly-dressing community, having travelled extensively across the Scottish Islands and Ireland on fishing trips, as well as being a loyal member of local fishing associations.

On a foreign holiday in later life, he achieved his lifelong dream of landing a huge marlin, one of the fastest and most ferocious fish there is to catch.

Following his retirement, and after a time living at Eamont Bridge, Penrith, where he occasionally helped out behind the bar at The Crown, Tony fulfilled a lifetime's dream of retiring to the Scottish islands, living first in Dounby on Orkney, and latterly Finstown.
He saw out his days loch fishing across the Orkneys - sometimes from his own boat - and continued to do so long after his health and legs had failed him, and repeatedly against the advice of both family and friends.

A private service is to be held in Inverness, Scotland, on Thursday, 15th February.