Tributes paid to popular Chesterfield stalwart and family man who has died aged 78

Tributes have been paid to a well-known Chesterfield man who has sadly passed away at the age of 78.

Monday, 20th June 2022, 4:53 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 1:44 pm

Uriah Ortnell Saunders, affectionately known to many as Sandy, was a familiar face through his varied career across the town and regular visits to The Market Pub on New Square.

He was also a founder of the Chesterfield African Caribbean Community Association and continued to be a prominent member in later life.

Uriah’s family says he died peacefully at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on June 5, leaving his beloved daughters Lisa and Tania, granddaughters Chanell, Lola and Erin as well as two brothers, three sisters, and many nieces and nephews.

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Uriah Ortnell Saunders, affectionately known to many as Sandy, passed away on June 5 at Chesterfield Royal Hospital with his daughters by his side

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His family have been deeply moved by the tributes that have poured in following his death.

Daughter Lisa Forde said: “He’s touched a lot of people and it’s been quite overwhelming.

"When The Market put on their page that he’d sadly passed, we were getting loads of people texting and calling from different parts of the world expressing their condolences.

Uriah, known to many as Sandy, doted on his family. Pictured with two of his granddaughters.

"We’re just gutted and so saddened to lose him but it’s been so lovely to hear that he was held in such high regard.”

Uriah was born in the Manchester area of Jamaica on October 15, 1943, and moved to Chesterfield aged 17 to be with his father and brother.

Here he met his beloved wife Ivy, who was also from Jamaica and working as a student nurse at the time.

Ivy passed away in 1986 following a battle with breast cancer, leaving Uriah to single-handedly raise their two young daughters.

Uriah was described as a loyal, hard-working, family man

Lisa said he doted on his family and was ‘immensely proud’ of their achievements.

She added: “Dad did everything super-humanly possibly to make up for our loss.

He’d wake us up, make sure we had a decent breakfast, brush and style our afro hair – not easy – run us off to school, then rush home after work, quickly cook rice and peas or jerk chicken then help with homework before settling us into bed.

“We were 100 per cent his focus.”

Uriah or 'Sandy' pictured with his beloved daughters Lisa and Tania

Uriah worked at Kennings and with the Derbyshire County Council caretaking relief team.

His final working year was spent at Chesterfield Library, a job he relished.

He also enjoyed cooking, gardening and spending time with friends at The Market Pub who were described as ‘like a second family to him’.

Lisa, who owes her career to her father, said: “I got pregnant when I was quite young and I’d just started nursing college. I knew I was going to be a single parent and my dad said to me, I am going to look after the baby while you continue your studies so you don’t need to worry about that.

"He gave up his own work to enable me to continue studies and qualify as a nurse to make a better life for me and my child.

“He was proud that, although a single parent, both his daughters got through university. Unfortunately he missed my graduation – not through choice – to bury his own father.

"But he actually put both our pictures in the Derbyshire Times, even though I’d qualified many years before, because he wanted to acknowledge that both of his girls had done it.

"He never remarried as he always said he had one true love. We had him on this earth for 36 years after our mum, so now they are reunited together.”

Lisa married Aidan and they have twin girls, Lola and Erin as well as Lisa’s older daughter Chanell.

She said her dad was always hands on, cooking lunch every Sunday and insisting they bring sandwich boxes to take leftovers in.

She added: “He really was the most giving and wonderful dad and I wouldn’t have my career without him."

Uriah’s funeral will take place at The Crooked Spire at 11am on June 21, followed by a private family burial at Boythorpe Cemetery.

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