Tributes have been paid to Eden councillor Robin Orchard, Melmerby, who died on Friday, aged 78.
Rob, as he was known, was elected to the council as representative of the Hartside ward at a by-election in February, 2018, replacing his late wife Sheila who had passed away the previous year.
A member of the Conservative group, he served on the council’s scrutiny co-ordinating board and its accounts and governance committee.
He was also chairman of the budget scrutiny panel which studied the authority’s 2019/20 and 2020/21 budgets.
Council leader Virginia Taylor said: “Rob Orchard has been an active and effective councillor — he and I dealt with a number of issues together and it was a pleasure to work with him. It’s a real pity that his time as councillor has been so short.”
Debra Wicks, leader of the Conservative group, said: “Rob will be sadly missed by all of us.
“He was a man of true integrity, understanding and kindness and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time.”
Rob was born and raised with his two brothers in South Norwood, Croydon, London.
His first job was as a trainee writer for the publication Model Engineer.
He and his first wife Marion lived in Larkfield, Kent, until moving to Lancashire.
They had three children, Louise, Clare and David.
Rob continued to work as a journalist until moving in 1966 to Chorley, Lancashire, where he worked for British Leyland.
It was while at Leyland that he met and fell in love with Sheila, subsequently marrying her in March, 1981.
After he left Leyland in 1984, they moved to Cumbria and together established Apple Associates, helping to organise shows and events as well as carrying out other marketing activities.
Throughout the 1990s this included major bus and coach shows at Donington, Telford and the NEC, Birmingham.
Rob was a great train enthusiast, and he and Sheila bought Little Salkeld station on the Settle to Carlisle line which they turned into such an impressive dwelling that it was featured in several lifestyle magazines.
They later moved to Melmerby, where Sheila became a district councillor in 2007.
Rob spent a period driving a bus for Stagecoach and then became a remote working journalist with the magazine Bus & Coach Buyer, for which he continued to do some freelance work.
Following Sheila’s death in November, 2017, Rob stood for her former seat in the Hartside ward and won it in February, 2018.
He was considered a “fountain of knowledge” in Melmerby, with the advice when a question arose in the village invariably being to “ask Rob”, who would be sure to have an answer.
He was very active in raising money for a new village hall and in getting it built.
He met Prince Charles on several occasions in connection with this project.
Rob worked with the Fellrunner community bus organisation, driving for them and being in the process of writing their history at the time of his death.
He was involved with the parish church, and was also a member of the local quiz league, Melmerby’s gardening club and the village conservation group. He greeted travellers in the village on their stopovers prior to Appleby New Fair.
In recent times he became involved with the Men in Sheds group, where he enjoyed the camaraderie and community projects they were involved in.
He was a committed member of the North Yorkshire Moors Railway and 009 model railway societies.
He was a volunteer at the South Tynedale Railway, which he loved.
He is survived by his daughters Louise Porter and Clare Hannett, and son David. He had seven grandchildren.
A private family funeral service will take place at Carlisle on Thursday, and a memorial service is be held when circumstances allow.
A memorial page has been set up at https://robinorchard.muchloved.com
Arrangements are being handled by Final Journey Funerals, Carlisle.