THE funeral has been held of retired Cleveland Police chief superintendent Bill Kitching, who died at the grand old age of 100, after a short illness.

Bill Kitching was born in Carlin How in 1922, one of a family of four brothers and sisters. His father died when he was just nine but, with the help of his siblings, he obtained a scholarship to study at Guisborough Grammar School, which in turn enabled him to join the Middlesbrough Police as a junior clerk in CID in 1937.

His career was interrupted by the Second World War when he swapped policing for aircrew service in the RAF, manning a bomber aircraft and also performing the crucial navigator role, serving in Rhodesia and Egypt. In 1945, he returned to policing to become a police constable in Middlesbrough, in a start to a distinguished career, serving until 1982.

PC Bill Kitching on appointment as a Police Constable in 1945

PC Bill Kitching on appointment as a Police Constable in 1945

He progressed through the ranks, serving in various parts of Cleveland, policing predominantly in Middlesbrough but also in the traffic department, rising to the rank of chief superintendent and district commander at Guisborough. He retired in 1982 at Guisborough after a total of 41 years’ service. He was a committed Middlesbrough FC supporter and combined work with pleasure, when he was in charge of policing at Ayresome Park on match days.

He was married in 1958 and the family lived in Acklam and Marton. He had two sons, Philip and Geoffrey, and was father-in-law of Jennifer and Susan with two grand-daughters and now five great-grandchildren.

On his 100th birthday in April, which he shared with the Queen, he was visited in Ascot Care Home, Marton, by Cleveland’s current chief constable Mark Webster, who said: “As a retired officer, he is part of the policing family and it was a privilege to join his family and friends as they celebrated his milestone birthday. Bill gave decades of service to policing in our area and of course to his country during his time in the RAF.”

His funeral service was held at St Bede’s Chapel at Middlesbrough Crematorium, with Canon Glyn Holland BA officiating, this week, attended by his family and many other retired Cleveland Police officers.