Family pay tribute to figurehead of Graveleys fish and chips after death aged 81

The funeral will take place this week of a businessman who was the face of Harrogate's best loved fish and chip shop.

Robert Pilkington

Robert Pilkington battled illness with dignity and courage until he died on July 16 at the age of 81.

His family said: "He had many friends and acquaintances. He was the face of Graveleys. He - like Graveleys - was an institution.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

Sign up to our Business newsletter

"He was very proud of what the family achieved in Harrogate. He will be remembered fondly by all who knew him."


After joining his sons and daughter in law in the hospitality industry, Mr Robert Pilkington moved to Harrogate to help run Graveleys famous fish and chips and sea food restaurant and takeaway from 2008 until 2019.

Located on on Cheltenham Parade in Harrogate, Mr Pilkington absolutely loved Harrogate and Graveleys and found himself loving the later years of his life working.

He never missed a day, entertaining, enjoying the company of family, friends, colleagues and customers, meeting many kindred spirits which put a glow in his soul.

Mr Pilkington's family said he had enjoyed and excelled at a varied career on his journey through life via Liverpool, Lincoln, Hong Kong, Prestwich, Stoke on Trent and most of Yorkshire.

Educated at Lincoln Grammer school, he was active in rugby union and cricket and kept himself very fit. On leaving education, he started working for his father in the asphalting business to electrical supplier then onto the financial services industry.

Robert eventually found his calling in the hospitality sector, where he excelled, in particular within the pub industry.

He ran a tight ship where everything was run with an iron fist, good work ethic, respect and impeccable presentation and quality of product. He was respected, courted for opinion, full of wisdom and kindness, always impeccably turned out, and was known for his wit and charm.

After retiring in 2003, he spent his time between his property in Lincoln and southern Spain.

He lasted a few years then decided he would throw himself back into work by throwing himself into Graveleys,

Mr Pilkington leaves three children, five grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

His funeral will take place on August 4.