WELL-KNOWN New Milton stationer and newsagent George Stickland has died at the age of 92.
A familiar face in the town, George and his brother John ran Murray’s on Station Road for 40 years.
He was also a longstanding member of New Milton Rotary Club, a lifelong supporter of Bashley Football Club and a former trustee of New Milton Memorial Hall.
Born in Bashley in 1926, George had an older brother, John, and a younger sister, Millie. Along with his siblings he attended primary school at Wootton before moving on to Ashley Secondary School.
After completing his studies, George was employed as a clerk at Lymington council, undertaking his daily commute to and from Lymington on his bicycle whatever the weather.
In his youth, George was a keen tennis player and often enjoyed a match on the recreation ground courts with John Bartlett, who later went on to run the butchers shop next door to his stationers.
As a supporter of Bashley Football Club, he continued to attend matches regularly into his 90s, and went to his last match with his son Paul in January of this year.
After spending a year in the army, George returned to Lymington Town Hall and worked to save enough money to achieve his ambition of buying a shop with John.
In 1954 the brothers bought Murray’s newsagent and tobacconist on the approach to New Milton Station.
Working long hours which often involved taking delivery of papers at 4.30am and continuing right though until the evening editions arrived, George and John built the business up and were soon able to expand to open Murray’s Stationers in Stationery House, selling commercial stationery, office supplies, equipment and furniture.
In 1957, George married Jean White at New Milton’s Mary Magdalene Church, followed by a honeymoon in Jersey. The following year they welcomed their son Paul, who was followed by their daughter Jane in 1962.
George worked extremely hard but the family did manage to enjoy summer holidays to the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Scilly Isles. Although George no longer had time to play tennis, he and Jean attended Wimbledon for a day every year.
Well-loved and respected by the dozens of staff he employed over the years, George was known for his kind nature and ability to keep his head in times of crisis.
He was a trustee of New Milton Memorial Hall and, together with the other trustees, was instrumental in planning and fundraising for the current building after the previous hall was destroyed by fire in 1978.
George retired at the age of 68, and he and Jean then enjoyed travelling and holidaying in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
In retirement George continued to be a keen supporter of Oakhaven Hospice, helping out with fundraising and collections. In later years he became a member of Milton Heritage Society, sharing his collection of postcards of the area and his incredible knowledge of the town.
Jean said: “George knew everyone; he was a real people person. He started the newsagents in the days when most men in the town would pop in for a daily paper. It was hard work but he loved it.”
Family was also central in George’s life and he was very close to his children and grandchildren, Leanne, Emily and James.
George died peacefully on 25th February and is survived by Jean and his children. There will be a private funeral and a public thanksgiving service for his life at a later date. Anyone wishing to donate in George’s memory can give to Oakhaven Hospice.