Commodore dies

John Hardy doing a sail past as Commodore back in the 1980s
John Hardy doing a sail past as Commodore back in the 1980s

A WELL-known member and former Commodore of Whitby Yacht Club died on Saturday aged 82.

John Hardy was involved with the yacht club along with his wife Binky Robinson for many years and right up until his death, he was still a trustee.

Both were very familiar faces in the club house on a Saturday night and in 1983 he was also the Commodore and assistant secretary in 1988 and 1989.

He owned several boats at Whitby including Godiva (a pioneer 30), and Avril Dawn (Sparkman & Stevens 30).

While he was a cruising man, he also enjoyed racing, winning the Muir Cup in 1985 and the Early Bird Trophy in 1987, both sailing Avril Dawn.

Neil Williamson, the current commodore, said that despite moving to West Yorkshire, Mr Hardy maintained the connection with the club and was a regular attendee at the annual past commodores dinner, where he was always keen to tell the odd salty dog story or two.

John was born in Morley in West Yorkshire but evacuated to Fairborne in Wales during the war, where arguably his affiliation with the sea began.

In 1946 he entered HMS Conway for a two-year cadetship becoming Captain of Conway’s 1st XV and Snr Cadet Captain Forecastle Division.

John left HMS Conway in December 1947 and joined The Clan Line – Cayzer Irvine and Co, trading to South and East Africa via the Cape to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh via Suez.

John then left the sea and gained a pilots’ licence.

He also joined his father in the family business before the entrepreneur in him saw money in redevelopment.

He bought, demolished and rebuilt industrial buildings to sell or lease in the 1970s and 1980s and was still buying and selling industrial land up to his death.

His first wife, Shirley died of cancer in 1976 aged 42.

He leaves two sons Christopher and Robin, his daughter, Avril Dawn died in a car accident in 1981.

The funeral is on Monday at 1.30pm at Wakefield Crematorium in West Yorkshire.