Charles Hodgkinson

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CHARLES Hodgkinson, a former director of Huddersfield Town football club and a fourth generation lawyer in Penistone, has died aged 81.

He was an expert on legal debentures for one of the leading law firms in the country before eventually, in the 1960s, joining the family firm of Dransfield and Hodgkinson, set up by his great grandfather in Penistone more than 200 years ago, and now known as Pennine Law. In between, he had a short spell with Broomhead, in Sheffield.

He only retired three years ago and was particularly proud to receive his practice certificate marking 50 years as a lawyer.

He was born in Doncaster, the only son of John and Dorothy Hodgkinson and was educated at Clevedon House School in Ilkley, and Shrewsbury, before doing his National Service in the Royal Artillery. He then went to Lincoln College, Oxford, to study law, following in his father’s footsteps and he in turn was followed by his son, Ian, who is a solicitor in Cheshire.

Mr Hodgkinson was a talented athlete and particularly good at rowing, being captain of boats at Lincoln College and having a trial for the Oxford eight. He also won several sculling events.

From Oxford, he went to work in London for leading law firm Slaughter and May, before going on to Sheffield and then the family firm.

He was a director of Huddersfield Town for 22 years, having become involved with them through working for a former chairman, and was appointed club solicitor in 1974. He was elected to the board in 1981 and served until 1993.

Durng that time, he was involved in renegotiating the lease on the old Leeds Road ground with Kirklees Council, and his work helped to put the club in a solid position to allow them to move to the Galpharm Stadium in 1994.

He was also involved with the formation of the Patrons Association and instigated a share issue in the 1980s for supporters, both of which were radical ideas for their time.

As a keen supporter and spectator he followed the club all over to watch their matches.

He married his wife Kit in 1958 after meeting her through friends at a party in London. He invited her to watch him play hockey for the Honourable Artillery Company of which he was a member, and to his surprise she turned up.

He also played hockey and soccer for Huddersfield Amateurs.

When he gave up those sports he took up golf in 1968 and was a member firstly at Wortley, but for most of the time at Silkstone Golf Club – where his son Richard is about to become secretary – and later at Lindrick.

In retirement he was a keen birdwatcher and also became a member of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. He was keen on stamp and coin collecting and steam locomotives.

Mr Hodgkinson’s wife died in 2008 on his 78th birthday and 10 days after the couple celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.

He is survived by his sons Richard and Ian, and grandchildren Jack and Charlotte.