Town stalwart Wallie dies

A FORMER herdsman, farmer, horticulturalist and enthusiastic member of many Uckfield societies died on Wednesday last week in Uckfield Community Hospital.

Walter 'Wallie' Blackman was 79 and had been suffering from a rare form of cancer.

Wallie was born in Newick where his father was herdsman to the Slater family on the Newick Estate.

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When the family's Sussex herd was sold the Blackmans moved to Stonegate where Wallie attended the local school then worked on many local farms including Bevingford at Five Ash Down where he cared for the Red Poll herd for 18 years.

He ran Young Farmers' groups, took part in and organised ploughing and milking competitions and was club leader of Uckfield Young Farmers for 10 years.

When the family moved to Uckfield he gardened professionally then became school caretaker at Holy Cross School.

Wallie was a member of the town's horticultural and allotment societies, winning competitions for his produce.

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He enjoyed a lifetime of showing livestock including his daughter's Dorset-based prize-winning Guernsey herd.

He was also a member of the Uckfield Preservation Society and the Guernsey Cattle Society.

He had two daughters, one who emigrated to Canada two years ago with her two sons and two granddaughters and the other who lives in Hailsham with her husband, son and daughter.

His widow Jean from Lealands Drive told the Express: 'He was well respected and much-loved here in the town.'

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She praised the work of nurses and doctors at Uckfield Community Hospital where Wallie spent the last week of his life.

'They could not have done more for him - it was a wonderful place.'

A celebration of his life will be held at Holy Cross Church, Uckfield

at 12.30pm on Tuesday, October 16.

Everyone is welcome.