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Leicester Rickards

Picture of Leicester Rickards.

Leicester Rickards
Leicester was born in Leeds on 21st March 1915, the youngest of three children. He grew up in the family home in Headingley.
After graduating from Leeds College of Art, he and a group of like-minded young artists bought themselves chalets at East Keswick, where the idyllic riverside surroundings would hopefully inspire them. The war put an end to that dream.
Leicester joined the RAF. Although he witnessed the horrors of the concentration camps in Germany in the latter stages of the war (the stench of man’s inhumanity to man affected him profoundly) he spent most of the war in Wick and Brighton. A ferocious attack on the Wick air base by the Luftwaffe came as something of a surprise, but fortunately left him unscathed.
In 1943 his first wife, Kathleen gave birth to their son Clive.
After the war Leicester continued working as a Lithographic artist, but he and his brother, Bob, dreamed of buying land and living an alternative life-style. Bob lived the dream, Leicester didn’t. But he went on to be one of the best in his chosen career, winning prestigious awards in 1955 and 1969.
In 1957 he was left with a teenage son to bring up on his own. After a couple of years he met and married Margaret and gained a daughter, Jane, and a son, John.
Like his father before him, Leicester was a keen golfer. He was also an enthusiastic fell walker, clocking up the Three Peaks on several occasions. Later in life he put his energies into his beloved garden – only relatively recently finding it too much for him. But his love of flowers remained undiminished.
He died peacefully at his home in Brayton, Selby, on Tuesday 3rd July, 2012.

Family memories of Leicester Rickards
On the way to the crematorium, the funeral cortege sped along the dual carriageway at 70 mph, just managing to arrive at the appointed time of 1:00 pm. How ironic, I thought, as I remembered how my father, who had little patience with tardiness, would retort that the offender would be late for their own funeral……
Anyway, here are a few more family reminiscences of my father.
Here goes.
"Lead the way" (as Dad might have said)
I wonder what things spring to mind when you think of Leicester?
These are some of Lisa’s thoughts:
sausage dogs usually vicious ones, holidays, Care Bears, his slippers, his shoes, shirts and ties, Toad of Toad Hall, a gentleman of his time.

He was a dapper man, perhaps even a bit of a dandy, but he could carry off wearing the most striking clothes. In my early teens I remember him, on one occasion, ranting about Teddy Boys with their long hair and outrageous clothes. Stifling my mirth I said, “Dad, your hair is down to your collar, and that’s a very striking yellow striped velvet jacket you’re wearing.”

I still chuckle at the memory of his getting up ritual when we moved into our house in Wetherby. The house was really 2 cottages knocked into one. The original cottage was 300 years old and the other 100 years old. As you might imagine this led to rather quirky room heights, particularly upstairs. Every morning after my father’s alarm went off I’d hear him head across the corridor from the bedroom (in the 100 year old cottage) to the bathroom (in the 300 year old cottage). There would be a loud crack followed by a stream of expletives as my father’s head failed, every single morning, to take-in the change in ceiling height.
On the first couple of occasions I dashed out from my bedroom to see if he was alright.
"I'm OK!" he’d reply, with perhaps more than a hint of irritation in his voice, and, his raised hand, almost brushing aside the question. A response I’m sure many of you are familiar with.
He was a man of exacting standards. His intolerance of poor service in restaurants was legendary. But he could also ladle on the charm effortlessly. A gift which did not seem to diminish much with age, as many a pretty young waitress could testify.
In many ways he was a typical Yorkshireman. He once told me he had his suits specially made with small pockets so that he couldn’t get his wallet out too quickly. And of course if he had to spend money his first question would always be
"How much!!"
John and Chrissie when taking him shopping, occasionally risked his wrath by suggesting he might buy something different from what was on his shopping list.
"Just stick to the list" he’d insist, tersely.
He was very fond of all his grandchildren. Jane & Les’s children called him ‘Grandpa’, John & Chrissie’s children called him ‘Grandy’, and my daughter, Charlotte, struggling with the word, as a toddler, called him ‘Grumpy’.
“Yes, that’s about right!” was Dad’s amused response.
He was capable of incisively witty remarks, and had a quirky, off-beat sense of humour, which no-one enjoyed more than him. Poor Scott had to endure 36 years of the same joke. Dad would always greet him in the same way,
“Have you just got back? Was it cold" (a reference to Scott of the Antarctic). It always made Dad laugh - but it left Scott wondering whether he was laughing at his own joke or whether he was laughing at telling it again.
Although he loved a joke, he was by no means a superficial man. His thoughts ran deep. He could be a man of few words, unless you got him going on politics or religion.

Jane said to me soon after Dad died,
“He was the best dad I could have wished for.”
John and I wouldn’t disagree with that.

As we say goodbye to my father, I’m sure if we listen very carefully we’ll hear him say:
"Bon Voyage" one last time.

Clive Rickards

Added by: Clive Rickards on 2 August 2012.

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