Obituary: Col Edward York, former Vice Lord Lieutenant

Col Edward York, who has died at 80, was Vice Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire for 15 years from 1999 and a former president of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.

Col Edward York
Col Edward York

He also served at various times as chairman of Thirsk Racecourse, vice president of the Northern Association of Building Societies and chairman of the Royal Armouries Development Trust at Leeds.

Born in February 1939, he was the son of the late Christopher York, a North Yorkshire landowner who was Conservative MP for Ripon and then Harrogate during and after the war.

Educated at Eton, he began his military career in the 1st Royal Dragoons, and was a commanding officer in the Queen’s Own Yeomanry.

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In taking the reins at the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, he was following in the footsteps of his father, who had held the presidency in 1975. Eddie’s wife, Sarah, took the role in 2016.

The organisation said Col York, who farmed on the Hutton Wandesley Estate, near York, was a “true gentleman” who had been “wonderfully supportive” of the society and its work.

Its chairman, Nick Lane Fox, called Col York “a giant amongst men, in more than just the physical sense”.

He added: “He was one of the achitects of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and the Great Yorkshire Show which we have today. He had long experience of the Royal Show and used lessons from it to influence the strategy of the Great Yorkshire.”

Lord Crathorne, the former Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, also paid tribute to his second-in-command, whom he said was “enormously kind” and a “wonderful, great big, tall, gangling man”.

He added: “We were joined at the hip and we shared “the best possible times together.”

Col York, who listed his interests as racing and field sports was awarded the OBE in 2015 for services to charity and the community. Sarah, their son and daughter, and five grandchildren survive him.

A service of Thanksgiving will be held at York Minster on February 20.