Kirkby Stephen garage proprietor and mountain rescue team founder

Date: Tuesday 7th May 2019

A FOUNDER member of Kirkby Stephen mountain rescue team who ran a successful garage business in the town for about 30 years has died, aged 90.

Frank Jackson was born at Hawes in September, 1928, to Jim and Bessie, and came to live, aged four, at Kirkby Stephen when the family moved to Fletcher Hill Farm.

He went to school in the town until the age of 14 when he went to work at Dunning’s garage in South Road, which later became Sayer’s garage.

From October, 1946, to August, 1948, Frank went off to do national service at RAF Leeming, where he helped maintain Army vehicles, before returning to work in the garage he had left in Kirkby Stephen.

In 1965, he set up his own garage business in the town’s Nateby Road with his wife, Olive, after buying the site from a blacksmith. Together they ran the business there for about 30 years, living in Victoria Terrace, before returning to Fletcher Hill Farm.

Frank, who was retired for almost 27 years, did lots of travelling, both in England and abroad, and had a keen interest in outdoor pursuits. At the age of 61, before he had retired, he climbed Mount Blanc and also had fond memories of trekking to Everest basecamp.

In 2009, a certificate of achievement was presented to him commemorating his 50 years of service to Kirkby Stephen mountain rescue team. His service dated back to 1952, when the Herald of 15th May that year noted the inaugural meeting of the “Kirkby Stephen and District Mountain Rescue Unit”, which came under the control of the mountain rescue unit at RAF Topcliffe.

In later years, the rescue team coalesced around a local group of walkers known as the Bogtrotters, comprising Frank and other enthusiasts who would ski in winter and go walking and climbing in summer. He retired from active duty in 2008.

He was also a member of Kirkby Stephen Silver Band for many years, serving on the committee, and was actively engaged in encouraging new young players to join.

Frank was also a member of the town’s Just For Fun singers for a number of years and performed as part of a barber shop group. His hobbies included climbing, walking, skiing, orienteering and wind surfing. He was also a keen photographer and enjoyed sketching, watercolour painting and metal work.

Frank will be remembered as someone who was full of fun who loved being around his grandchildren and having a laugh with them. He was also a very committed person, who never did anything half-heartedly, and was interested in what everybody was doing.

He had a deep love of the countryside, being at his happiest when he was out walking, and had a great knowledge of all the Cumbrian hills and fells.

Frank is survived by his wife, Olive, daughters Judith and Lyn, son Neil, grandchildren Gareth, Rebecca, Patrick, Josh, Rosie, Thomas and Benjamin, plus three great-grandchildren.

A private service at Lancaster Crematorium was followed by a service of remembrance at Kirkby Stephen Parish Church on Wednesday. Glyn Jones Funeral Directors, Appleby, had charge of the arrangements.