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Name:
Wilson, Maurice Frederick (1910-2000)
Image:
Wilson, Maurice Frederick (1910-2000)
Biography:
Maurice Wilson died on the 16th March 2000, the day after his 90th birthday. Although he had been unwell since before Christmas he remained cheerful and articulate throughout, reluctantly postponing his 90th birthday party only a few days before he died.

Maurice was born 15th March 1910, and lived for the whole of his life, in Stokesley, where after education at Yarm Grammar School then Pocklington School, he joined the Midland Bank which employed him for 42 years. This long service provided him with a secure base from which he developed his mountaineering skills continuously, starting with a Lake District fell walking holiday in 1931. He returned to the Lakes every year of his life and quickly moved on to serious climbing in Wales, Scotland and the Alps, reaching many 4000m peaks including the Matterhorn, which he climbed 100 years to the day after the first ascent. As a member of the Swiss Alpine Club he became one of the first mountaineers to lead ice training courses in Zermatt and it was in Zermatt that he met Geoff Scovell who introduced him to the Yorkshire Ramblers Club of which he became a member in 1952, serving as Vice President 1961-1963. Geoff and Arthur Tallon both climbed with Maurice in the Alps and also in the Lakes and Scotland. Arthur recalls a difficult pitch on Sgurr Alasdair which both he and Geoff found almost impossible. Maurice, 20 years their senior, quietly took over and completed the pitch, then effortlessly hauled up his juniors. He was with RAF Signals during the war, spending five years in the Hebrides which he explored thoroughly although he never wished to return.

He was a founder member and a Chairman of the Mountaineering Association. He was also founder member and later President of the Cleveland Mountaineering Club; his literary output was enjoyed by both organisations. Maurice was also an early member of the York Mountaineering Club and contributed to that Club’s development in the late 40’s and early 50’s. He was much involved in local affairs and as President of the Stokesly Society he provided the commentary for two videos: “A Walk Round Stokesley” and “A Scrapbook of Stokesley”. The authoritative pamphlet on the history of Stokesley parish church was written by Maurice. Further writings included “Climbs in Cleveland” and “Climbs on the North Yorkshire Moors”, both published by the Cleveland Mountaineering Club. More recently he published “Short walks in the Cleveland Hills” and “Walks with Granddad”. This latter was a response to the many visitors to the town who complained there was nowhere to take the children. As a deeply committed Christian he gave lifelong support to the Gideons International, often distributing their bibles to schools and local institutions.

Maurice was a member of the Yorkshire Ramblers Club's 1957 Himalayan expedition and had a passion, sadly never realised, for Polar exploration. The Friends’ School at Great Ayton benefited from his extensive mountaineering knowledge when he gave climbing courses to some 200 of their pupils over a number of years. One of his pupils eventually reached the South Pole, sending Maurice a much treasured sample of South Polar ice.

Many of the Yorkshire Ramblers Club members remember him for his enthusiasm for the Joint Meet at the Robertson Lamb hut and for his attendance at Whit meets in Rum, Knoydart, the Cairngorms, Torridon, Kintail, Ardgour and Inchnadamph. His traverse of the Liathach ridge in his 81st year, which included every one of the exposed pinnacles between Spidean a’ Choire Leith and Mullach an Raithin will long be recalled as an example to younger fry, indeed one young admirer asked Maurice to pose for a picture so that he could show it to his own grandfather. His final triumph was to gain the summit of Ben Nevis when he was 84.

All this hectic activity delayed Maurice’s introduction to normal family life but he married Angela in 1962 and is survived by her, together with Peter, Heather and Mark plus three grandchildren, Harry, Grace and Bea. The Yorkshire Ramblers Club has lost a most knowledgeable, kindly and patient figure who will be greatly missed.

Reproduced by kind permission of the Yorkshire Ramblers Club and taken from “The Yorkshire Rambler” issue 13 Summer 2000, slight amendments made by M Willett.
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