Arthur Pearson

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ARTHUR PEARSON, who has died at the age of 87, spent a lifetime in senior roles in local government administration before he retired as chief executive of Ryedale District Council in 1984.

Born in Carlisle, he became the country’s youngest town clerk in 1952 at Blackrod, Lancashire, and went on to become clerk at councils at Aspel and Carnforth before moving to Shropshire County Council in a senior post.

He then became clerk to Darlington Rural District Council, before moving to Ryedale’s headquarters at Malton on re-organisation of local government in 1974 when he oversaw the merger of nine former urban and rural authorities to create the new District Council.

Mr Pearson went to the University of St Andrews in 1941 on a scholarship from the RAF, then three years later learned to fly, become a navigator and served in Burma where he dropped food parcels to Chindits and brought out prisoners of war from Changi jail in Singapore. He was also part of the legendary Operation Market Garden, dropping supplies to paratroopers.

At the end of his local government career he was awarded the MBE for his services to the communities he had served.

A keen golfer, he boasted two hole in ones and also had a keen interest in music, being an accomplished pianist, encouraging his grandchildren to play a number of instruments.

His love of swimming saw him involved in two rescues while on holiday, one when he pulled two children out of dangerous conditions in the sea at Tenerife, the other a rescue at Siloth in Cumbria.

Mr Pearson’s many other interests included dancing.

He leaves his wife, Dorothy, and two daughters, Patricia and Heather, together with five grandchildren and four great- grandchildren.