JUST two months after being among the first to buy shares in the River Bain Hydro Project at Bainbridge, John "Peter" Leyland died last Sunday.
As a child, he helped toclear the leaves from the header tank for the original water-driven electricity supply at Bainbridge, which had
been set up by his grandfather in partnership with John Cockburn.
After his father died in 1942 his mother continued to run the Bainbridge Electricity Supply company until she received 1,415 in compensation from the National Grid in 1953. So he felt it was particularly appropriate to re-invest that money back into such a green project.
He inherited the family name of John when he was born in January 1920 but his parents decided they preferred "Peter". He spent 10 happy years in Bainbridge before being sent to Ackworth, the Quaker boarding school. At 16 he was articled to a London firm of chartered accountants.
In 1940, as a Quaker, he chose to follow his father's example and join the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU). His father served in France during the First World War and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. Peter, however, joined the "China Convoy" and by early 1942 was driving up the Burma Road to escape the advancing Japanese. For over three years, he worked as the accountant for the FAU in China before returning to England in 1946.
From 1955 until he retired in 1982, he worked with the Scott Bader Commonwealth, first as company secretary and then as the finance director. This left him with a lifelong interest in industrial democracy.
He retired to Wensleydale and became an active member of the local and Quaker communities, as well as being honorary treasurer of Ackworth School, until his health began to deteriorate.
After 23 years as a widower, he married artist Janet Rawlins (Parfitt) in 1982 and they developed a memorable and creative partnership. This included restoring a house in Askrigg which had been owned by his mother's family since the 1840s. After 20 years there, they were able to buy back the house that his wife had had built beside the River Bain in Bainbridge.
Of the new efforts to produce electricity from the river he commented: "I think it's a marvellous project and I'd like to buy shares to pass on to the next generation."
He is survived by his daughters, Joanna and Sarah, and by his wife.