John Lyles

JOHN Lyles, a former Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, has died at the age of 84.

His distinguished service to the county was rewarded on his retirement as Lord Lieutenant in 2004 when he was made a Companion of the Victorian Order, an honour in the personal gift of the Queen.

He held the position for 12 years having earlier been appointed a deputy lieutenant, in 1987. He was High Sheriff from 1986 to 1987 and in 1999 was elected president of the Shrievalty Association.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Mr Lyles was born in Dewsbury, the youngest of four children of Percy Lyles, and was educated at Giggleswick and Leeds University where he gained a BSc in textiles.

In his business life, Mr Lyles was a textile magnate having been chairman and managing director, from 1972 to 1995 of the family carpet yarn spinners S Lyles plc, of Dewsbury, which during his time was turned into a public company. It continued to be run by a member of the family after he retired but, like other such companies of the time, later went out of business.

He held a number of offices and served on many committees over a number of years through both his business interests and as Lord Lieutenant. They included being chairman of Yorkshire and Humberside Chambers of Commerce; a member of Yorkshire and Humberside CBI and on its board; and a member of National Employers’ committee for Volunteer and Reserve Forces.

As Lord Lieutenant he was chairman of Calderdale Community Foundation and chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Community Trust.

He was also on the Yorkshire committee of National Trust for 10 years from 1988 to 1998 and a member of Leeds University Court from 1992 to 1995.

He had been Honorary Colonel of the 8th Battalion of the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and vice-president of Yorkshire and Humberside Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve.

In the New Year Honours of 1987 Mr Lyles became a CBE, and in 1995 he received an honorary doctorate from Bradford University.

Mr Lyles, who was a gentle and caring man, was a passionate gardener and a former president of the North of England Horticultural Society.

He was an extremely keen photographer who always had his camera with him, and also had a love of music, especially opera, and he and his wife spent many summers visiting Glyndebourne.

He is survived by his wife Yvonne, whom he married in 1953, two sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on a date to be announced.