FOLLOWING illness bravely borne, the final finishing line has arrived for prominent local sportsman Keith Emmison of Steeton, who has died at the age of 77.

An immensely popular personality, Keith grew up in Skipton’s Middletown district and attended the nearby Skipton Parish Church Primary and then Brougham Street Secondary Modern School, before passing an exam at the age of 13 for Keighley Secondary Technical College.

Leaving the ‘Tech’ at 15, he undertook an apprenticeship as a printer for Dawson and Fotherby in Skipton’s Rope Walk. However, a changing world and fortunes in the printing industry resulted in firms closing down, including Dawson’s, and Keith moved to other establishments down the Aire Valley, firstly at Cross Hills and then two firms in Keighley before they too followed suit. Edging towards retirement, he enjoyed a year outside of printing as a dry-stone waller before finding further employment in the printing industry for the Fretwell family in Golbourne Street, Keighley, where he worked until shortly before his 68th birthday.

Liked and respected as he was amongst his various work colleagues, it was in the sporting arena where Keith was to be widely acclaimed.

Powerfully built after leaving school, he first of all figured as a no-nonsense centre-half for Bradley then Skipton LMS at football, where he also played cricket, before setting his sights on the rough and tumble just over the hedge on Skipton rugby field.

Having married a Bradford lass, Maureen, in 1963 and then settled in Keighley, logic eventually prompted a move to the nearer-home Keighlians club, where he similarly impressed.

Keith then elected to swap rugby boots for squash shoes as a sporting pastime before he was tempted at the age of 40, to test his credentials in the fell racing world.

Shortly before his50thh birthday Keith achieved an entry into the celebrated Bob Graham Club scaling a specified 72 peaks - out and back from Keswick, within 24 hours. He was a mean machine on the bicycle too, cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats, as well as tackling Britain’s three highest mountains, Snowdon, Scafell and Ben Nevis by foot and cycle.

He is survived by his wife Maureen, a son and daughter and three grandchildren.

Roger Ingham