DCSIMG

Arthur Lampkin

Founder of a motorcycling dynasty ARTHUR Lampkin, who has died at the age of 91, was widely known in the world of motorcycle trialing as the father of Arthur, who became British trialing champion when he was 18, Martin, who was British and world champion, and Alan, British champion.

Martin's son Duggie has been world champion seven times.

"Dad Lampkin", or "Granddad Lampkin" as Arthur senior was known to family and friends, had no particular interest in motorcycles himself, apart from being a means of transport before he could afford to buy cars.

They were certainly beyond his means in 1941 when he came to Yorkshire from his home in Kent on a BSA Blue Star 400 with his wife Violet on the pillion seat and their two little children – Arthur, three, Janet 18 months – and all their worldly belongings in the sidecar.

Sixth of 10 children, Dad Lampkin was working at the Woolwich Arsenal when war broke out, and when the workforce was to be dispersed he was given the option of going to Birmingham or the new munitions factory at Steeton.

He had never heard of the place, and Yorkshire, he would later say, was as a foreign country to him. But a fellow worker on the lathe next to his told him that Birmingham would be in the city and Steeton in the country, so he chose Steeton.

Before bringing the family up, he made a preliminary visit on the BSA, arriving at Silsden early in the evening tired, dirty and wondering how, in the blackout, he would find lodgings for the night. He knocked on a door and was told that a Mrs Place in Tufton Street would have a room for him. But she told him, when she came to the door, that the Ministry had already sent 43 men to her.

She did, however, give him a cup of tea and while he sipped it went off to find someone else willing to take him in.

The volunteer was Mary Williams, of Fairfax Street. She eyed the mud-splattered traveller warily and said he could stay one night – but after he had washed and tidied himself up she changed her mind and said he could remain until he had found a house for the family to move into.

They settled well, but initially the farming country around Silsden and Steeton caused him much puzzlement. He had never before seen grazing sheep and he asked where the farmers put them at night.

Alan was born in 1944, and by the war's end the Lampkins were so well settled that a return to Kent was out of the question. Dad Lampkin would say it was the best day's work of his life when he decided to go to Yorkshire. He got a job at Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick and then set up a precision engineering business of his own in Silsden. It is now run by the brothers Arthur and Alan.

Martin was born in 1950 and Veronica in 1952.

Arthur junior had been tinkering with the BSA Blue Star since he was little more than a toddler, and long before he was old enough to have a licence was riding the big machine around fields and waste ground.

Then, with savings from a paper round, he bought his own machine. He rode it with a natural ability, but few in Silsden appreciated it and complaints were soon being made to the council about the infernal racket he raised as he raced up and down the beck courses which dissect the surrounding hills.

Dad Lampkin was not one to suppress an interest shown by any of his children; far from it. He encouraged them all, but not as a parent vicariously seeking glory through their achievements. His chief aim, it seems, was to help them find fulfilment – and it was an approach which had such startling results that his three boys grew up to dominate the sport they loved.

He gave Janet and her husband Brian a different sort of encouragement when he urged them to buy their own home, even if it did mean taking on mortgage repayments of 7.4s a month. And when later they were thinking of buying a grocery shop in Gargrave he typically inspected it before recommending that they buy it.

To his children and grandchildren and great-granchildren he was loved for his fantastic stories which he would tell at the slightest provocation. An annual treat was a giant Christmas cracker with presents in it for everyone, and the Christmas pudding with sixpenses in it always provoked a choking fit which ended with the magical production of a 10 shilling note.

On outings to Bolton Abbey he would get the children to bury pennies in the sand beside the river, and on the next visit to dig them up again. Mysteriously he could always tell them where to dig for the hidden coin.

Violet died in 1977.

For the last 10 years of his life Dad Lampkin was on oxygen 24 hours a day and got around in an electric chair, which he referred to as his chariot, and his chief pleasure was putting on 10p bets at the nearby betting shop. Sometimes he would boast that he had had a "right good day" and won all of 1.50.

He had a split, stable-style door at his house in Silsden and he would lean on the lower half and give lollipops to the children who called on "Grandad" Lampkin.

A man who hunted out bargains in junk shops and liked to tinker with anything mech-anical, Arthur was quiet and kindly, patient and easygoing, and left a lasting impression on those who met him.

He was never seen to lose his temper or swear, even when playing golf, which he did on Sundays at Silsden Golf Club, of which he was a stalwart member.

He paid attention to his app-earance and was invariably well turned out, and he always wore a flat cap – even at home indoors. So much a part of his persona had it become that the one he was wearing up until his death was popped into the coffin with him.

He leaves a sister Hilda, 94, his five children, 13 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.

 
 
 

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