WAR hero Maurice Pinkney, one of Norton's best-known personalities who served as mayor three times, has died at the age of 92.

He served as a councillor for about 32 years, initially with the former Norton Urban District Council before it became the town council in 1974 during local government re-organisation.

His wife, Doreen, said: "Maurice was involved in many organisations in Norton over the years. He did a lot for the town as a councillor, helping people."

A farmer's son, he had an impressive war record, volunteering to serve in the Royal Navy at the age of 18, being initially stationed at Devonport where he started as a telephone operator, and later serving on minesweepers. Mrs Pinkney recalled how he had been involved in the sweeping of the Normandy beaches, and how his ship had been torpedoed, resulting in lives being lost, but he and a handful of others managed to get into a small boat before being picked up by a Dutch trawler.

After the war he worked temporarily at Easterby's stables and then for Ainsty, the builders' merchants, later to become Crossleys and Jewsons, where he rose to be area manager.

His many interests in Norton included being chairman of the Motor Neurone Disease branch, which he formed with Councillor Di Keal and his wife.

He was also a governor of Norton County Primary School for many years and chairman of the Army Training Corps, as well as being a long serving Freemason.

One of his long-serving council colleagues, Councillor David Lloyd-Williams paid tribute to Mr Pinkney whom he described as a man who worked hard for Norton and its people. He recalled how when Mr Pinkney was mayor of Norton and he was mayor of Malton, they had worked together to help raise about £5,000 to help a disaster in Ahmenia - money jointly raised with the towns of Kirkbymoorside and Pickering mayors - which was used to help build a children's hospital. "We went to Manchester to present the money and plaques from the four towns. I was delighted when I went to the hospital a few years ago to see the plaques still adorning the walls," said Coun Lloyd-Williams.

A large congregation attended Mr Pinkney's funeral at St Peter's Church, Norton, which was followed by interment.

In addition to his wife, he leaves two daughters, Carol and Susan, and four grandchildren, Nichola, Andrew, Simon and Clare.