Maurice Hymas

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MAURICE Hymas, who took on the running of the family bulk haulage business as a teenager and built it into one of Yorkshire’s most successful companies, has died aged 76.

He became involved with the family business of Alfred Hymas when he was 16, shortly after his father died. At that time it had a fleet of 10 wagons, three coaches and a black London taxi, and Maurice’s many jobs included driving the school bus, chauffeuring village brides to their wedding, snowploughing for West Riding County Council and shovelling coal before delivering it to houses with truck driver Eddie Bowes.

Following their father’s death, his older brother, Alan, had taken over the running of the growing company.

However Maurice took the reins three years later at the age of 19 when his brother was killed in an accident.

Because he was too young to run a company, his mother Edith Hymas, and his uncle David Harrison, became its legal operators until, at 21, he was officially able to take charge.

He carried on until taking semi-retirement in 1997 when his youngest son Stewart, took over and became managing director.

The firm gradually expanded, and in 1960 Maurice Hymas bought haulage contractors and coach proprietors Clarke Bros, based in Ripon, trading his coaches for trucks with Stanley Hughes & Company, which would eventually evolve into Arriva Bus and Coach.

The home delivery of coal had been sold but he kept the bulk side of the work, and as the mills and quarries around them grew so did Alfred Hymas Ltd. By 1964, it employed 41 people and by 1966 it had expanded to more than 26 wagons.

In 1970, his mother who was then 70, stepped down as company secretary and was replaced by Mr Hymas’s wife Dorothy, whom he had married in 1965.

By 1972, the company had moved on to use trailers allowing them to do long-distance work, taking coke from the North East to Fords at Dagenham, and returning with soya out of Erith in Kent to mills in Yorkshire.

Mr Hymas was never afraid of introducing new technology, and by the 1980s the company was thriving and running a fleet of 70 trucks. They also developed a farm of more than 1,000 acres.

In 1982 he and like-minded friends Geoff Brown, and William Houseman – who died last year – established Ripon Farm Services Ltd, which now employs more than 300 staff, with Mr Brown leading it.

Maurice Alfred Hymas was born at Primrose Cottage, in Burton Leonard, near Ripon, the youngest of five children – two sons and three daughters – of Alfred and Edith Hymas.

His father started the business with a pony and trap in 1911, taking villagers to and from the local station, two miles away, gradually building it up to a fleet of 10 vehicles by the time he died in 1953.

Mr Hymas was educated at the village school until he was 11 and then at Scarborough College where, as well as being good at maths, he excelled at sport, playing in the school cricket teams.

Cricket was to remain a large part of his life, playing as a bowler in the village team. One of his proudest moments was as captain of the Burton Leonard Evening team when they won the league.

He also played in the Ripley Billiards Team.

For a time he served on Burton Leonard Parish Council, and was chairman of the Feast Committee.

Mr Hymas, a man with a larger-than-life personality with a mischievous grin, but with a thoughtful and generous nature, was regarded as a legend in the haulage industry.

He is survived by Dorothy, his wife of 48 years whom he meet at a Young Farmers’ Dance, his daughter Louise, sons Robert and Stewart who now run the company with Stewart remaining as managing director, and five grandchildren.