WHITEHAVEN electrical contractor and hound trailer Maurice Bewley has died at the age of 79.

Maurice, who would have celebrated 50 years in business at the end of this month, had been suffering from ill health for about a year, according to his family.

Born in Thornhill, he moved to Whitehaven when he married his wife, Susan, nearly 58 years ago.

He started his working life in the Florence iron ore mines and was apprenticed to TS Bell, rising through the ranks to become foreman.

He remained with the company until he set up his own business, in which he was eventually joined by sons David and Richard.

His passion in life, however, was hound trailing.

In his early days, Maurice raced pigeons but when the hounds came along in the 1980s he never looked back.

He served on local committees for many years, including a time as chairman. He also bred his own hounds and was in his in element when following his precious dogs, his family said.

Maurice did not forget his civic duty. He raised a lot of money for charity including Great North Air Ambulance, Dogs for the Blind, the West Cumberland Hospital and other local causes.

Son David said: “He was sometimes cantankerous but very kind. He was popular and outgoing. He was a big character who would do anything for anybody.”

He also took huge pride in his grandchildren - David’s daughter Hannah and Richard’s daughter Abigail - both of whom joined him in many hound trails.

“He worshipped them,” David said.

A service for Maurice will be held at St James’ Whitehaven at 11am on Monday.