POPULAR: Morris and Ruby Tallentire at the Millennium party at Butterknowle Village Hall
POPULAR: Morris and Ruby Tallentire at the Millennium party at Butterknowle Village Hall

A MEMORIAL dance to remember a couple who were at the centre of Butterknowle’s social life for about half a century has raised cash for local causes.

Hard-working Morris and Ruby Tallentire died within months of each other this year but their spirit now lives on in an annual memorial dance, a fitting tribute to a couple who were pivotal in organising village entertainment.

Mr Tallentire, who was Butterknowle Village Hall chairman for 45 years and ran the local agricultural merchant’s store, died on February 17, aged 93.

Mrs Tallentire died on June 29, aged 92, just days before the memorial dance for her husband was due to be held.

In their lifetime they were instrumental in organising the village carnival, pie and peas supper dances and New Year’s Eve parties.

They also arranged for Scottish pipe bands, jazz bands and others to perform at the hall.

Their daughter, Evelyn McIntyre, said: “They had a good committee of local people and they were all enthusiastic about the community.

“They did it because they loved the friendship of the others on the committee.”

Her brother, John Tallentire, who has now taken over the family business, added: “They loved New Year dances. One New Year it snowed, they had to take people home using tractors.

It went ahead whatever the weather.”

As much as the couple enjoyed organising and attending social events, they were equally hard working.

In August 1949 the Northern Despatch wrote about Mrs Tallentire, who was unmarried and 23 at the time, describing her as the “most versatile girl in the Cockfield district”.

It went on to tell of her daily routine which included milking cows, working the fields, doing needlework and even repairing tractors.

Mr Tallentire served in the RAF and worked at the Co-op before getting married and opening ML Tallentire Agricultural, which also sold provisions and served as the village Post Office. He landed plum jobs driving officers around while in the RAF because of his sartorial excellence.

Mrs McIntyre said: “He was always smartly dressed – he always wore a shirt and tie. He was so well mannered.”

John added: “They both loved to work. If she [my mam] had nothing to do she would say I am going to wash the car – even though it didn’t need cleaning.”

His sister added: “When they had the shop she would rush out and do meals on wheels.”

Before opening the shop, the couple, who served as part time postmen, would make their delivery rounds.

In 1961 the couple bought the village cinema and expanded their business. Despite their workload they never stopped being involved in their community.

Mr Tallentire said: “They made a lot of friendships through the village hall. They also liked to go to Glaxo to the dance.”

The memorial dance that had been planned for Mr Tallentire was suggested by organist and close friend of the couple Graeme Scarlett, who also waived his fee and made a £200 donation to a charity of the family's choice.

It was decided to arrange the dance last month in memory of both them.