PASSIONATE about driving, and dedicated to helping others improve their skills, Keith Bamford had an encyclopaedic knowledge of both technical and practical aspects of driving. He would always make time in his busy diary to supervise drives with anyone who shared his enthusiasm.
He was born in Dewsbury, the only son of Eddie and Hannah Bamford. His father was the electrician at the local colliery, and both parents taught piano. He learned to play at an early age, and music remained important to him throughout his 77 years.
He won a scholarship to Wheelwright Grammar School for Boys, Dewsbury, and having attended Durham University where he graduated in physics, he returned to his old school as a physics master.
In 1960, Marion Williams joined the staff as head of religious education, and in her first month, Mr Bamford invited her to play in a tennis tournament with him. It was the start of a romance which brought them to the altar of St Mark’s Church, Marske-by-the-Sea, two years later.
The couple had two daughters, Lois and Ruth, and moved to Ilkley in 1972. Mr Bamford learned the violin so as to encourage Ruth, who was beginning to play it. He also became organist at St Peter’s Church, Addingham, and started to attend lectures on advanced driving.
Concerned about road safety, he became convinced that the way to improve it was through safer driving, and in later life, he never passed up an opportunity to get other drivers to learn the necessary skills.
Also in 1972 he joined the Bradford Roadcraft Club, a voluntary organisation concerned with advanced driving. New members of this were taught the principles of advanced driving, laid down in the book Roadcraft, the police drivers’ manual from which the club took part of its name.
Three years after joining it, he became the club’s training officer, a position he held for the next 10 years.
As training officer, his job was to allocate drivers who wished to improve their skills to the club’s volunteer trainers, for whom he set up a training programme.
After his wife was ordained into the Church of England, the family moved into the Wakefield diocese, Mr Bamford now teaching at the city’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School.
In 1983 he passed the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ advanced drivers’ test at gold standard, and the following year earned a diploma in advanced driving tuition.
In 1980 he had passed the required tests to become an Approved Driving Instructor (ADI), and following the introduction of grades for the performance of ADIs in 1992, he achieved the top grade.
A founder member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents’ West Yorkshire Advanced Driving Group, he became the group’s training officer in 1987, holding that position up until his death.
Largely as a result of his enthusiasm and effort, it has one of the best advanced driving test results in the country.
He maintained his driving standard by taking the advanced driving group’s three-yearly retests – always getting the top grade – and additionally he was assessed several times a year by police officers with advanced driving qualifications.
In addition to his work with the West Yorkshire group, he organised public events which ranged from weekly evening lectures about better driving to evening or morning sessions when people could have their driving assessed by tutors from the group.
Throughout all of this, he continued his interest in music, becoming a member of the Danum Strings orchestra in Doncaster.
Invited to apply, he was accepted into the Institute of Master Tutors of Driving in 1991 and served a three-year term as chairman. For his service he was made a Fellow of the Institute, and in 2007 he was awarded life fellowship.
The couple retired to Bingley in 1996, and he was now able to spend more time on his own advanced driving. He also played in orchestras in Baildon and Ilkley.
Mr Bamford is survived by his wife Marion, daughters Lois and Ruth and four grandchildren.