Tribute has been paid to a passionate supporter of young people in the Boston area and long-standing figure in the town’s arts scene following his death.
Pete Read, of Boston, died last month, aged 67, after being diagnosed with lung cancer in 2019.
The husband and father-of-three came to Boston in the mid-1970s to take a teacher’s job at St Bede’s Roman Catholic School.
He would go on to spend 27 years at the setting, rising to the position of deputy head.
However, many will have known Mr Read through the part he played in the town’s community life outside of St Bede’s: as a supporter of Blackfriars Theatre and Arts Centre; as a founder and director of the Cutwater Productions arts group, which toured the county each summer, attracting large audiences; as a co-founder of Discover Volunteering, an organisation set up to give residents support and advice on volunteering in Lincolnshire and beyond; through an annual young person’s creative writing competition in Boston which he initiated, and more.
Mr Read was born in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, and attended college in Nottingham, where he met the woman who would become his wife, Marilyn. The pair moved to Boston in 1974 with daughter May and would go on to have two more children, Ben and Joe.
May said: “[Dad and Mum] found dear friends through their involvement with local theatre groups and have spent many happy hours socialising and being creative with them.
“Dad contributed to the Blackfriars community in many ways over the years, being on the management committee, supporting volunteers, working and drinking in the bar!”
“Dad loved to work with young people throughout his career,” she continued. “He loved being part of a school community, field trips, teaching and fundraising through Friends of St Bede’s.
“He was proud of the opportunities he and his colleagues provided through Discover Volunteering and was still a trustee of Wragby Youth Club.
“He also loved to hear the stories children wrote for the story competition.”
May described her father as ‘a force of nature’, and as ‘loud’, ‘fun’, ‘opinionated’ and ‘generous’.
She said he had a love of music and live events and enjoyed attending summer music festivals in his camper van. Bruce Springsteen was a special favourite, she said.
May said the family would like to acknowledge the care her father received at the chemotherapy suite at Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital.
“He had nothing but praise for the caring and friendly staff there who made the experience so much easier,” she said.
Mr Read’s funeral will be held on Friday, November 20, at the South Lincolnshire Crematorium, at Surfleet, through F. E. Addlesee and Son.
Anyone who would like to make a donation in Mr Read’s memory, is invited by the family to consider the Teenage Cancer Trust (visit www.teenagecancertrust.org) in light of his passion for working with young people.
* Tributes from the arts community:
– Stuart Bull, chairman of Blackfriars Trust, said: “Pete Read was an integral part of the Blackfriars’ family since the 1970s, and had been a board member in the past.”
He added: “He was an active member of Wyberton players and founded Cutwater Productions, for whom he wrote and produced plays with his writing partner Mick Broadhurst.
“His death leaves a big hole and he will be hard to replace. The Blackfriars community sends its love and support to Pete’s wife, Marilyn, and their family. We plan to hold an event when the theatre re-opens following the pandemic to celebrate Pete’s life and achievements.”
– In a post on Facebook, Cutwater Productions spoke of its ‘great sadness’ over the death.
Speaking to the Standard, associate Victoria Clark added: “No words can describe how we will miss him as a friend and also as Cutwater’s director – he was Cutwater.”