‘He was so loving - a real character’

LOVING tributes have been paid to a popular Gainsborough man with ‘a wicked sense of humour’.

George Durant Hinchcliffe recently died, aged 89, after a brief illness.

Born in Gainsborough in 1922, he was one of the founder members of the Gainsborough Model Railway Society, building most of their locomotives, and was also was also deputy headmaster of Sturton by Stow Secondary School in the 1950s and 60s – producing many comic operas in collaboration with Jack Shanks. George was also manager of the Flying Scotsman for Retford businessman Alan Pegler and Sir William McAlpine after rescuing the locomotive from creditors in America.

“My father was a remarkable man,” said his son Dr Richard Hinchcliffe. “As a family man, he was very exceptionally loving, and in the last 20 years of his life he has been extremely caring to my two children.”

People loved him immensely for all his foibles and character traits. He wasn’t a loveable rogue but that does come close to describing him.”

“He could be pragmatic about things which sometimes got him into trouble, but that’s what made him do so many things in his life.”

Richard added: “My father was really good with people and made so many friends around the world.”

“We’ll all remember him for his personality, sophistication and his sense of humour and mischief.”

At 14 George apprenticed at Marshalls as a steam fitter, before enlisting in the Navy in 1941, serving in minesweepers throughout the war.

He was best known in railway heritage, first as an amateur in the 1960s organising steam tours and then professionally in the 1970s and 80s managing the Flying Scotsman both in the UK and when it toured the USA and Canada 1969-1973.

His first wife Frances passed away suddenly in 1984, then in 1995 he met his current wife Janet West.

George is survived by his wife Janet, his daughters Diane and Jill and his son Richard.