Obituary: Andrew Dickson Hartley 2nd July 1945 – 3rd September 2020

ANDREW (Gramps to his 20 grandchildren) was born in Menston. Then from the age of six he moved to the Manor House in Askwith where he spent the rest of his childhood.

He went to Ghyll Royd School and then was awarded a scholarship to Worksop College. His prowess at mathematics was soon noticed taking his O-Level at 15, followed by maths and greater maths A-levels when he was only 17. As a consequence he was then too young to go to University so spent a year treading water at Worksop visiting pubs, smoking in the gorse, and doing carpentry.

His eight children found his love of maths invaluable with their homework down the years, although a trifle puzzling when he described quadratic equations as being poetry. He then spread his wings and went to Pembroke College Cambridge where he read Politics and then Land Economy. He was soon identified as being sufficiently talented and eccentric (he reportedly had invested in a pair of bespoke spats) to be admitted to the Cambridge University Light Entertainment Society (CULES) with whom he performed reviews up and down the country (remembering fondly a performance for the ladies at Holloway prison).

He was described as always larger than life, often on the verge of self-parody. His college friends have written fondly of him in recent weeks: resplendent in straw boater and Mr Toad Jacket punting up and down the Cam exhorting anyone within earshot to buy a ticket for the next CULES Show: “ This is an unrepeatable offer! Let me repeat that: This is an unrepeatable offer !” To the consternation of his Cambridge tutor who declared his disappointment “you are just going home to sell furniture with your father”.

He returned to Wharfedale where he joined the family business Hartleys Auctioneers in the mid 1960s. He was the third generation of the family to work in the business which had been started by his grandfather Thomas in 1906, the auctioneering side taken over by his father Douglas which moved to its existing site in 1929 (the new firm of Dacre Son and Hartley then started in 1936). Now a chartered surveyor, the auctioneering business thrived under Andrew with the turnover increasing year on year. In 1989 he successfully negotiated the business to become independent. He was then able to invest in and develop the premises. His passion for antiques (particularly furniture) was the product of the influence of his father and his own dedicated research. He was highly respected by those who worked for him. His performance on the rostrum was always robust and memorable, although woe betide any whispering dealers who put him off his stride! He loved his job and was still working up to a few months ago until ill health got in the way. The letters and cards from numerous customers are testament to the high esteem in which he was held. His stewardship has meant the business continues to thrive and is now in the capable hands of the fourth generation: Charlie and Emma. But his contribution to local life went far beyond his working life. At the age of 29 he became a Justice of the Peace. He sat for 30 years in both the Criminal and Family Jurisdictions. From time to time he flirted with disaster with nine penalty points on his driving licence: he led such a full life he was always in a hurry!

He was President of the Rotary Club. He was chairman of Cantores Olicanae in its early years (thankfully not a singer himself, although he was always loud and enthusiastic in church!). In the early 1980s he was in charge of the Chamber of Trade and Commerce in Ilkley. For decades he was Trustee of the Pawson Trust which accommodated widows and spinsters in Bridge Lane, Ilkley, taking calls from fearful residents with water leaks in the middle of the night. There was also of course his contribution to the Church. From the late 1970s onwards, he rarely missed church. He was chairman and president of the Friends of Bolton Abbey for a number of years. He was on the works committee of the PCC and was the Parish’ representative on the diocese advisory committee. He enjoyed organising Parish trips to Cathedrals, Churches and Stately Homes, regaling the captive audience on the coach with lectures on what they were about to see. At the end of a trip he was always keen to arrange Evensong after a busy day of sightseeing. He went to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage arranged by the Rev James Turnbull and twice to Assisi on tours organised by the Rev John Bennett. His deep faith was reflected in the brave and dignified way he confronted his illness in recent months and years. He continued to take Holy Communion at home until nearly the very end. Perhaps his lasting achievement though is his family. A wonderful marriage, eight children, 20 grandchildren. He will never be forgotten. He will always be loved and missed.