Jim De Little

Jim DeLittle
Jim DeLittle
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JAMES Robert De Little – he was always known as Jim - ran the last firm in the country to make wooden block type for the printing of posters.

Its team of craftsmen could produce hand-finished type up to three feet high from hard-wearing French hornbeam and Canadian maple, and had customers around the world.

It eventually closed down in 1999, its machinery being transferred to a printing type museum in Stockwell, London, part of the Science Museum.

The middle child of three – he had an elder and younger sister - Mr De Little went to St Peter’s School in York, playing cricket, rugby and running competitively. When called up, he did his National Service with REME in Padaborn, Germany, and on being demobbed, joined the family firm of R D De Little.

A founder member of the Ebor Round Table, he was also a Rotarian.

President of York Rotary Club in 1999-2000, he had many years’ involvement with the Dragon Boat Race on the River Ouse, and was awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding fundraising work.

He served as chairman of the Ebor 41 Club and was also on the fundraising committee at the Cheshire Home at Alne, near Easingwold.

In 1961, he had married Rosemary Quin whom he met at a party.

When time permitted, Mr De Little indulged a passion for car boot sales, his particular target being pictures frames which he stored in his attack. He also attended the Merton furniture auction sales, liking to buy dilapidated pine blanket boxes which he immaculately restored and sold on.

Another hobby was metal detecting, and asked by an acquaintance to hunt for a wedding ring she thought she had lost on some farm land, he spent an entire morning scouring a couple of fields. He had given up and was returning to his car – the device still on – when it detected the ring by the car.

Other occasional successes kept his interest alive up until about 20 years ago.

In his last few weeks he was looked after in his own home by nurses provided by the charity Hospice at Home, their care greatly appreciated by his family.

Mr De Little, who was 78 at the time of his death, is survived by his wife Rosemary, their sons James and Simon, and his younger sister, Ann.

A memorial service for Mr De Little is to be held at St Paul’s Church, Heslington, on February 12 at 1.30pm.