THE death of an 89-year-old Easingwold man has closed one of the last windows on life in the town before and during the war.

Maurice Stephenson, who leaves behind his widow Ann, a much-loved daughter Angela, four grand children and four great grand children, was born in Long Street in 1927 to a father invalided by gas in the trenches and a mother who worked as a cleaner to bring up their six children.

His family said that as a child, at the start of the afternoon film at the picture house in Easingwold Town Hall, Maurice and his friends would dash to the front to leave potatoes on top of the stoves at each side of the screen, returning as the credits rolled to reclaim their supper.

During the war, they ‘liberated’ training grenades from a town depot.

Having found an Italian prisoner of war from the camp where Easingwold School now stands, who was engaged in an amorous encounter in a field off Long Street, they threw a grenade under the hedge.

Maurice gleefully told seven decades later of the loud bang and ensuing chase.

He learnt not to leave his bike unattended in the Market Place because Canadian airmen drinking in the pubs might requisition it to return to base.

And he recalled with astonishment the same airmen cycling or driving flat out across the A19 at Tollerton crossroads without looking for traffic because their sense of risk had been warped by the high chance of being killed on their next mission.

After the war ended, Maurice "pestered" a girl from Wearside who was working at Claypenny to go out with him.

In 1959, set up on a joint date with friends, Ann finally said yes and they married six months later.

Maurice's lifelong ability to make friends with almost everyone, chat whenever the opportunity arose and share stories with those he met on his ramblings gave him an enviable knowledge of Easingwold and its people.

His funeral takes place at 2.30pm tomorrow, Monday, at Easingwold Methodist Chapel.