HAROLD WHITEHEAD, a leading figure in the development of the Co-op Movement's North East businesses, has died at the age of 85.
Mr Whitehead joined the Blyth Co-operative Society as Secretary in 1951 and was appointed General Manager in 1962.
As the head of one of the leading local co-operative businesses, he was heavily involved in the negotiations which resulted in 31 societies merging in 1970 to form the North Eastern Co-operative Society.
He joined the new regional business as Deputy Chief Executive Officer, taking charge in 1972 at the age of 54.
When he retired in 1979, the society had sales of £ 134 million and was the second largest retail society in the country.