Don Thomas

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DONALD Thomas – always known as Don – had been branch manager of the Halifax Building Society at Bridlington and was district manager at York until his retirement in 1980. A sportsman – active in his younger days and more often a spectator later on – he was a committed Rotarian and heavily involved in other social and charitable organisations until his death aged 90.

His family was from Halifax but in the First World War his father, an engineer, moved to work in Glasgow.

Don was born there, but after his eldest brother was bullied their father took the family back to Halifax.

Don won a place at Heath Grammar School, and leaving in 1937 went straight into the Halifax.

He was a keen Scout, and in 1939 became Scout Master at Heath Grammar. He played tennis and rugby union, as fly-half, centre and wing three-quarter for Halifax. He also supported Halifax RLFC and followed Yorkshire county cricket all his life.

During the war he was selected to become a radar technician and joined a convoy to the Mediterranean for the North Africa landings, spent time in Malta, and in 1944 he took part in the Salerno landings.

Demobbed in 1946, he returned to Halifax and a job at the building society where Rita Kershaw, whom he would marry, also worked.

In 1959 he was made assistant district manager at Preston and in the mid 1960s manager of the Bridlington branch, remaining there until 1974 when he was made district manager at York. Under his management, both offices won the company’s award for best-run branch.

While in Bridlington, he joined the town’s golf club, Past Table and Rotary, and he was appointed district commissioner of Boy Scouts.

He was a founder member of the Yorkshire Cancer Committee. At York, he was chairman of the city’s Building Societies’ Institute, a Rotarian, and joined Fulford Golf Club.

They returned to Bridlington in 1980.

A gregarious and popular man, with a good sense of humour, he played golf regularly until he was 84.

Rita died last August, and Don Thomas is survived by their children Paul and Viv, and two grandchildren.