Harold 'Harry' Hardcastle - Former reporter, Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald

Former Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale Herald reporter Harold “Harry”

Hardcastle died at his home in Bilton on 17 February, at the age of 76.

A
familiar face across the Dale, Hardcastle was a reporter for the Herald
for 24 years, having started at Ackrill Newspapers’ Ripon office in
1968 after working as a freelance journalist for 18 months.

His
first job for the Herald was covering the annual Birstwith Show and he
is remembered at the company for his trademark pipe and flat cap, which
once featured in one of his stories.

A farmer for 15 years, he then went to college in London before returning to Harrogate and working for the Post Office.

Born
in Shelf, near Bradford, he lived on the family farm in Bilton with his
brother David and sister-in-law, Betty, for 67 years. David died in
1992 and the brothers’ father, William, died in 1993.

Their mother, Margaret, died in 1963.

A life-long member of St John’s Church in Bilton, his deep tenor voice was a regular fixture in the church choir.

He
had spent a couple of years with the Church Army and enjoyed youth
hosteling, organising many trips for local children in his younger
years.

Hardcastle never married and leaves behind cousins and his uncle’s grandchildren.

His
sister-in-law, Betty Hardcastle, 71, said Harry was a “private and
deeply religious” man and she had been greatly shocked by his death.

Tributes have poured in for Hardcastle, who was well-known throughout the Dale and in Harrogate.

Former
mayor Sam Cryer said there would “never be another Harry Hardcastle”,
adding: “He was the last of an era. He trundled up and down the Dale
listening for news.

“I doubt whether he ever broke a speed limit.

“Pateley Bridge was Harry’s capital city. He loved Nidderdale and its people and was trusted by all those who knew him.

“Harry
was always a gentleman, well dressed, polite and ever helpful. He loved
country life and was extremely faithful to his friends.

“When Harry retired, Nidderdale lost an avid supporter whose pride and good character mattered more than his income.”

Jean
MacQuarrie, editor of the Ackrill Media Group which publishes the
Nidderdale Herald, said: “Harry was of the old school of journalism
where the telephone was no substitute for taking the time to meet
people face to face and gather all the information he possibly could.

“He
was extremely well known and respected throughout Nidderdale and to
this day, people often mention Harry with fond memories of seeing his
car wending its way up the Dale.

“He wouldn’t change his car so
people would recognise it and flag him down with stories, or leave
notes under the windscreen wipers in the car park.

“He was a mine of information about people and places in Nidderdale.”

Roger
Bowers of Hampsthwaite funeral director W. Bowers, knew Hardcastle from
his days in the Church Army and his involvement at St John’s.

He said Harold had been a “likeable, kind hearted sincere man, hard working, always committed to his work and the task in hand.

“Thinking
of Harold, I remember a man whom I would have welcomed a conversation
with, a pleasure to know him, sincere, kind, gentle and
respected,” he added.

Mike Molcher

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