J.W. Blench

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It was with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Wheatley Blench on 31st May aged 93.  There will be those who have an in depth knowledge of his career in academia which saw him leave the old Berwick Grammar as a star pupil to attend St John’s College, Cambridge then holding teaching posts in English Literature at Edinburgh and Aberdeen Universities and, finally, for an acclaimed number of years at the University of Durham.  

He was a longstanding member of The Civic Society and served on The Executive for some years, becoming Vice-Chairman from 2001 – 2003.  In 2003, he gave a talk entitled; “Two Otter Men” on the subject of authors, his friend Henry Williamson and Gavin Maxwell.  On another occasion he spoke on the well-known 1950’s writer and broadcaster, Alan Melville who came from Berwick and was related to the Herriot family.  At one time he wrote our reports for the Berwick Advertiser.

His funeral took place on 17th June in St Cuthberts RC Church in the High Latin Mass Rite and he was interred in Berwick Cemetery.¬† To quote one of Wheatley’s favourite¬†sayings; “He had gone to his account”.