Urban Echo News 

A Man of Substance

by Jim Greenhalf

The funeral has taken place of one of Bradford’s doughtiest campaigners, who fought successfully against the proposal to demolish the former Odeon cinema.

John Pashley, of Westcliffe Avenue, Baildon, was a few days short of his 82nd birthday when early in the morning of March 23 his breathing became more laboured and he died. Mr Pashley had been diagnosed with terminal cancer in January.

ima,mge1The service on April 9, held at Nabwood Crematorium, Bingley, was conducted by his son Andrew. More than 150 of Mr Pashley’s friends, family and wide circle of acquaintances attended. They included his partner for the last six or seven years, Sara Clarke, of Baildon.

Afterwards there was a gathering at Hoyle Court at which tributes were paid to John Pashley’s personal kindness, generosity and consideration.

But in matters of public affairs he gave no quarter especially if he believed the Bradford public was being deceived or short-changed. He supported the Bradford Odeon Rescue Group, attending meetings, challenging public officials and councillors, and paying for protest materials.

Undeterred by declining health in the past few years, Mr Pashley was a regular and on occasion controversial contributor to the Telegraph & Argus letters columns.

Born in East Bowling in 1933, he attended Bradford Boys’ Grammar school. After World War 2 he served in RAF Coastal Command and then resumed his career with the Bradford Dyers’ Association until his premature retirement at the age of 55.

He rose to be managing director of various textile companies. Based in Britain – he worked in Yorkshire, Lancashire, London and Belfast – he travelled all over the world and was able to make himself understood in French, Spanish and German.

For many years he was a carer for his wife Cynthia who was a chronic cancer sufferer. After her death in January 2009, Mr Pashley took a polemical interest in public affairs and enjoyed himself by throwing extravagant lunch or dinner parties for which he did all the cooking.

He used to say that the secret of civilised behaviour was to accept people for what they were. “To thine own self be true,” was his motto which he frequently enjoyed contradicting.

For example, although a self-professed atheist he was a generous contributor to Bradford Cathedral of which his wife Cyn was a prominent member. His pleasure was the happiness of others. “It is so nice to have friends,” he would sometimes declare out of the blue.

A man of the old school that was the nearest he came to making a display of his feelings. He preferred to do things for people he bothered about. He had an artisan’s eye for good quality wood and loved to make things which he then gave away.

In March, 2013, to mark his 80th birthday he invited friends and family to his wake, which was held at John Pennington’s Octagon club at Sandbeds, near Keighley. “I want to be there while I’m still alive,” he said.

John Pashley leaves a sister, Angie, a son, Andrew, a daughter, Sally and five grand-children.

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