A book of condolence has been placed in Appleby tourist information centre, in which well-wishers have been writing fond memories of former Appleby man Harold Spensley, who has died aged 82.
Born in Skipton in 1938, he moved to Appleby in 1947 when his father was appointed works inspector on the Settle-Carlisle railway line.
Although he had difficulty in speaking, Harold found ways of communicating with people and was a friendly face around Appleby with his sayings “How a ya” and “Poor poor” if something was not very good.
Throughout his life he developed a mischievous sense of humour and many people will have fond memories of what made him chuckle and the harmless practical jokes he played.
Harold attended the “top school” in Appleby and enjoyed colouring in pictures, learned numbers by playing dominoes, and made music by playing the mouth organ.
When he left school he joined his father at the railway station in a voluntary capacity.
Through the kindness of the railway staff he developed many practical skills such as chopping up wood for the waiting room fire, cleaning the brasses, lime washing the large cobbles that spell out APPLEBY on the platform bank, and watering the flower tubs on the platform.
He used to join his father working in the early hours of Sunday morning to inspect the tunnels and bridges along the railway line.
Many people remember how Harold was always there on the platform with a friendly smile, ready to help with luggage carrying.
He enjoyed many train journeys, both with family and railway staff, to London and York, and he travelled to Blackpool on his own.
As he grew more independent he enjoyed walking along the country lanes out towards Murton or Dufton and would call in at the Friary and Clickham farm, where he enjoyed watching the cows being milked and helping out when asked.
After his father died, he took over the heavier jobs at home, enabling his mother to remain in her own home throughout her life.
Harold moved to Appleby’s former Edenside care home in 1996 when his mother died and was given a room overlooking the River Eden and across to Holme Farm.
From there he was able to watch the farm animals as well as having a grandstand view of the Appleby harness races.
When Appleby Heritage Centre opened, he regularly visited and took great care helping to paint the restored train carriages.
He also enjoyed visits to the Edington Centre in Penrith, the Friday Club, and Appleby Town Band practice, and he attended church every Sunday.
During the flooding of Appleby in December 2015, Harold was evacuated along with the other residents and staff of Edenside and moved to Greengarth care home in Penrith as Edenside closed permanently.
Thanks to the staff, he quickly settled in and was soon able to walk into Penrith. In 2019 it was decided to close Greengarth and he moved to Christian Head residential home in Kirkby Stephen.
Harold died on June 3 at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle. A thanksgiving service took place at St Lawrence’s Church, Appleby, on Wednesday.
A memorial fund has been set up and donations can be made via Glyn Jones Funeral Directors.