Cross Hills man Harry Proud – who was the focus of a successful fundraising appeal – has died, aged 77 Harry suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and, in 2007, his wife, Eileen, launched Harry’s Appeal to raise £10,000 for the Craven branch of the Alzheimer's Society which was in financial difficulties and faced possible closure.
Harry was born in Agbrigg, Wakefield, on September 17, 1936 and lived there until the age of 11. His parents, Norman and Isabella, then purchased a guesthouse in King Street, Blackpool, and Harry studied textile design until the age of 16.
But life in Blackpool was not for him and he moved to Kilnsey where he began his outdoor life. He worked for John Hunter, under Kilnsey Crag, which he really enjoyed.
He was called by the Government to undertake National Service and, although he could have been excused because he worked on the land, he wanted to travel. He spent time in Germany and Hong Kong.
He met his wife in 1956 and they were married the following year. Twins came along in 1958 and, while Harry tried to settle into a Monday to Friday job, it didn’t suit. Farming was in his blood, plus Eileen was a farmer’s daughter.
After 12 years in farming – by which time the couple had two further sons – Harry retrained as an agricultural engineer.
He loved the change and worked at Smith Brothers at Kildwick. He travelled across the region, covering an area from Northallerton to Chesterfield. By this time, he was living in Cowling, enjoyed sea fishing, was on the PTA at South Craven School, Cross Hills and was a parish councillor. Life was hectic.
Moving to Cross Hills in 1976, he wanted another change and, in 1984, joined North Yorkshire County Council in the servicing division at Snaygill, where he serviced vehicles.
In 1999, Harry was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease and gradually lost his ability to live a normal life. His wife looked after him until it became impossible and he then went to live at Threshfield Court.
After 56 years of marriage, he lost his battle for life and will be sadly missed by his wife, sons and their families and his many friends.
A funeral service was held at Holy Trinity Church, Cowling, last Wednesday and a collection raised £511.75 which will be donated to the Friends of Airedale to be spent on the dementia ward garden.