Tribute to caring father

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Tributes have been paid to Raymond Parkinson, a former Birstall business owner and member of the Rotary Club of Batley who died recently.

Mr Parkinson was a prominent figure in Low Lane, Birstall, having owned two businesses.

Initially with partner Alan Rhodes, Mr Parkinson opened RH Parkinson Furniture and Carpets in 1957 and they ran the store for more than 40 years.

In 1982, with his wife Mary, he took over the Birstall Dry Cleaning Centre, which he owned until 2001.

The business remains in the family after their daughter-in-law, Carol, took over the reins.

Mr Parkinson’s daughter, Kathryn Barnes, said: “Because of his business activities he was very well known in and around Birstall and often when he went on holiday, at home or abroad, he would bump into someone who knew him.”

Her father was also a key member of the Rotary Club of Batley after being invited to join in 1974. His roles included attendance officer, bulletins editor and speaker secretary.

Mr Parkinson was offered the post of president on numerous occasions but always turned it down.

Kathryn said: “Many people have said he was the best president that the club never had.The motto for the Rotary Club of Batley is ‘service above self’ and dad epitomised it.”

In 2011 he was presented with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship award for his years of community and charity work. A spokesman said: “The Rotary Club of Batley has lost one of its most popular and long-serving members. He will be sadly missed by his many friends in the area as well as by Rotarians everywhere and all send their sincere condolences to his family.”

Mr Parkinson was a life-long and very active member of St Thomas’s Church and served on the church council for more than 40 years.

He married Mary in 1955 and the couple led a full and active life. In November 2005, soon after celebrating 50 years of marriage, Mary passed away.

Mr Parkinson’s son, Jeremy, said: “Dad was a very caring person and loved being with people. As well as serving the community, he loved socialising with family and friends, dancing and going on holidays.”

Mr Parkinson died aged 79.

He leaves partner Christine, daughter Kathryn, sons Andrew and Jeremy and five grandchildren.