African adventurer’s ashes to be scattered on Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill
Pendle Hill

The family of a former Burnley Grammar School boy who became an adventurer in Africa and went on to be an Englishman in New York are to scatter his ashes on Pendle Hill.

William Fletcher left town when he was 21, but he never lost touch with the area.

He and his family lived in Portal Grove, Burnley, and as a youngster he was a member of St John the Baptist, Gannow, choir and youth club. Mr Fletcher attended the grammar school from 1957 to 1962 and played for the Old Boys’ football team while he was apprenticed at Lucas’s. When he came out of his time he became a tool maker at Eastern Avenue and was selected by the firm to go on Voluntary Service Overseas.

The trip took him to Kenya to teach at a technical school. He became fluent in Swahili and later worked for major international companies in Uganda.

He met his wife, Rita, the daughter of a fomer senator of the Philippines, during his second stint in Kenya and followed her to Manhatten where she worked for the United Nations.

They made their home in New York, where he became the quintessential Englishman, walking his British Bulldogs in Central Park.

Mr Fletcher died, aged 70, after a prolonged fight with lung cancer. He leaves three sisters, two step-sisters and a brother.