Tributes to well-known businessman

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A well-known Dewsbury businessman who headed a regional trade body has died at the age of 80.

Dudley Ward, of Earlsheaton, ran his family business, Ward’s Furnishings, in the town for many years after leaving Wheelwright Grammar School.

As president of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, he later went on to hold the office of president of the West Yorkshire Chamber.

Dudley also served as president of the Dewsbury Rotary Club three times and the Dewsbury Collegians theatre group, where he designed scenery and ran auditions.

He later set up the Dewsbury Means Business group to promote commercial opportunities in the town.

The keen charity fundraiser, who lived with wife Marlene in the village, was known as a popular champion of Dewsbury’s business sector, and Rotary members paid tribute to him with a minute’s silence at their meeting this week. He was still acting as the group’s treasurer until his death and was a holder the highest Rotarian honour, the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.

A keen swimmer who had a pool in his garden, Dudley would complete fundraising swimathons in aid of children’s cancer charity Candlelighters.

“He will be sadly missed - he really fought for Dewsbury,” said current Chamber of Trade president and close friend Tricia Makepeace.

“He was a stalwart who was always there for me- he helped me with the car boot sales for the hospital, getting up at 3am and staying all day, and he never once complained. He was an absolute gentleman. He was very active right to the end, and was involved in so many things. He was one of the old school.”

Family friend Margaret Watson added:

“He was connected with many organisations and was a great ambassador for Dewsbury, promoting the town in many ways. He will be greatly missed.”

Dudley sold his shop, which was located on Daisy Hill and stocked high-class furniture, when he retired around 15 years ago.