Tributes paid to Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Scholes, Man of Rochdale 2021
Date published: 28 December 2023
Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Scholes, winner of Man of Rochdale 2021
Tributes have been paid to Lieutenant Commander Lawrence Scholes RNR, the 2021 Man of Rochdale, who passed away peacefully on 13 October.
Mr Scholes, of Milnrow, was the beloved husband to Margaret, devoted dad to Victoria and Jonathan, father-in-law to James and Edna, much-loved grandad to Sally, George and Sarah.
Mr Scholes was awarded the prestigious Man of Rochdale title in 2021, for his dedication to the Rochdale Sea Unit.
For over 65 years, Lawrence helped raise over £300,000 in funding and saw more than 4,000 cadets pass through the doors.
He described being named Man of Rochdale as “very nice to have recognition” before humbly thanking his wife: “I had no idea that I was in mind for it.
“An awful lot of my life has been involved with cadets, and I don’t regret one minute of it.
“It’s very nice to have recognition.
“Behind every good man is a very good woman, and my wife Margaret has supported me in everything that I have done over the years. If Margaret hadn’t been backing me up, there’s no way I could have done it. I owe it all to her.”
Lawrence’s family have received hundreds of heart-warming messages, paying respect to a man who has inspired a generation of cadets. Many talk of a ‘great leader’, ‘commanding officer’, his devotion to the cadets, a good friend and, above all, a true gentleman. It is evidently clear that he will be sadly missed within the cadet community.
“I’m grateful for the many years I knew Lawrence as a member of the unit management team and also as a friend. He was a man whose judgement I trusted and whose commitment to Rochdale Sea Cadets was unparalleled.”
“I have many happy memories of being associated with this fine gentleman and many of his family in the 1980s with TS Frobisher.”
“Goodbye Lawrence, one last walk along that long causeway as you cross the bar, calm seas and fair winds.”
Lawrence's daughter, Victoria, said: “Dad was a very kind and hardworking man, committed to his family and to the Sea Cadets. He and mum had the perfect relationship.
“My brother and I were brought up in a very loving home and always encouraged to achieve our potential, to be polite and to help others. Anybody who had the pleasure of knowing dad knew how much his family meant to him; he was an incredibly proud grandad.
“Cadets meant so much to him that he dedicated 73 years of his life to the Corps. We miss him terribly but know that his memory will live on in all that knew him and take comfort that dad’s involvement in cadets helped shape the future of many young people who have now grown up and had their own children, but remember dad with fondness.
“We will always be incredibly proud of dad.”
Born in 1940 in Rochdale to his parents Jean and Wilfred Scholes, Lawrence grew up on Bolton Road, Sudden, with his older brother, also named Wilfred. He attended Spotland Junior School followed by the Rochdale Grammar School for Boys. He left school at the age of 15 and held various jobs.
In later years, Mr Scholes worked for Gardiner Security where he was appointed Personnel Director, retiring in his 50s.
Lawrence joined the cadets in 1953 when he was 13, progressing through the ranks to ultimately become Rochdale’s Commanding Officer. In later years, he was the unit’s treasurer and president of the management committee.
After retiring from his role as Commanding Officer, Mr Scholes became the North West Area Staff Officer for Adventure Training, where he trained other adults in the skills needed so they could take their own cadets out. He also ran the North West area adventure training competition for sea and marine cadets from across the North West.
Lawrence would meet his future wife, Margaret, at Hollingworth Lake, when he was a sea cadet on his way to TS Palatine. Margaret lived with her parents near the lake. They dated for a number of years whilst Margaret studied in Bristol.
Lawrence and Margaret eventually married at Smithy Bridge Church in 1966, going on to have two children, Victoria and Jonathan, and three grandchildren, Sally, George and Sarah.
Having left school at such a young age, Mr Scholes decided to study for a degree with the Open University in his later years, gaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. His family proudly attended his graduation ceremony at Leeds Town Hall.
Mr Scholes’ hobbies centred around his love and commitment to the Sea Cadets. He also enjoyed walking and camping, and enjoyed many caravanning holidays with his wife Margaret and their dogs.
Lawrence always put others before himself and devoted so much of his time to the Sea Cadets that it became his family’s way of life, with many of their summer holidays being cadet camps “with fantastic memories.”
In addition to being awarded the Man of Rochdale accolade, Mr Scholes also carried the torch for the Commonwealth Games and received the Lord Lieutenant's Award, all achievements he was exceptionally proud of.
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