TRIBUTES have been paid to a stalwart of the community and a “true countryman”.

Edward Wardle died at home in Harome on May 9, aged 92.

Known as Tot, Mr Wardle was born in Leppington and spent many years as an agricultural contractor, initially employed by Robin Bowes, before starting his own business.

As a farming contractor, he visited farms over an area stretching from Sutton Bank to Bransdale, threshing corn, combine harvesting, baling and ploughing.

He later went on to be the local postman for 25 years and the village gravedigger.

Mr Wardle also served as vice-president of Harome Village Hall, chairman of Harome Parish Council and poppy day organiser in the area. He was also a councillor with Ryedale District Council.

For 38 years, he spent nearly every weekend in the Territorial Army (TA), serving in eight regiments after joining the Home Guard at the age of 14.

As a result of regiments merging over the years, he served with the West Yorkshire Regiment, Yorkshire Hussars, Royal Corps of Transport, 2150 Field Ambulance, the Queen’s Own Yeomanry and then finally transferred to the Pay Corps.

His services to the TA and the community earned him the British Empire Medal.

The owner of three vintage tractors, Mr Wardle also took part in charity tractor drives around Ryedale, even as recently as last summer.

Mr Wardle was married to Doreen for 65 years and the couple had seven children, 12 grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Mrs Wardle said: “We never had a cross word in all our married - mainly because I couldn’t get a word in edgeways.

“Tot was a real rural community man and will be missed by many people.”

Mr Wardle’s funeral will be held at St Saviour’s Parish Church, Harome, on Friday at 1pm, followed by private cremation.