FRANK WAINMAN, who has died at the age of 80, was probably the only farmer in England to have exported reconditioned tractors to Pakistan, but he is better known as the father and grandfather of world stock car racing champions Frankie Wainman and Frankie Wainman Jnr.
His own father was also Frank, a Silsden builder and plasterer. His mother, Mary (Jackson) was a dressmaker.
Leaving Hothfield School, Silsden, when he was 14, young Frank became the owner of a horse and cart, and delivered anything the two could carry. The mills in and around Keighley were his most regular customers, but beer was a reliable standby and then there were the occasional farm and domestic jobs.
At the outbreak of war, and six months after marrying Marion Dean with whom he had been at school, he was called up and was with the Duke of Wellingtons when that regiment was part of the Allied force which took Rome. He had fought in Egypt, at Anzio and in the battle to take Cassino, and when the war ended he was sent to Palestine, being demobbed in May, 1946.
He returned to Silsden and worked on the smallholding owned by Marion's family, but that was unlikely to satisfy such a one as Frank Wainman, and indeed, when the opportunity arose in 1949, he took out a mortgage to buy Foster Cliffe dairy farm, two miles from Silsden – and there he would remain for the rest of his life.
Farming, however, was not enough for this energetic young man; having become one of the first tractor owners in the area, he was soon buying and reconditioning tractors and other farm machinery and selling them on.
His regular advertisements in the Yorkshire Post and elsewhere were seen by two Pakistani families, one in Bradford and the other in Burnley. Both came on the same day to view reconditioned tractors at the farm, and Frank and Marion gazed on with some astonishment as the two parties greeted each other as though they were long-lost friends. It became apparent that they were relatives, and were looking for tractors to send back to family members in Pakistan.
And so began a lucrative business, Frank's stocky build and flat cap becoming familiar sights at farm machinery auctions across Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. Throughout the '70s, five or six tractors a week were leaving his Silsden farm for clients in Pakistan, and it was soon discovered that if they were to arrive complete, every removable part had to be spot-welded on.
Foster Cliffe Farm's export business thrived until the Labour Government under Callaghan helped finance the building of a tractor factory in Pakistan, and then the small groups which had trailed up to the farm from Bradford, Keighley and beyond the Pennines to buy second-hand tractors on behalf of relatives in Pakistan stopped coming.
Local sales continued, but Frank was now involved in the stock-car racing career of his son Frankie. In 1970 Frankie had been to a race meeting at Nelson, and he wanted then to build a car of his own. His father helped him, and when he raced it it had the number 212. It was a number he would keep, and it was as 212 that he won the World Final at White City Manchester in 1979. His son, Frankie Jnr (No 515) took up the sport and was World Champion in 1998. He won the New Zealand championships in 2000, and both he and his father still race.
As he grew older, Frank re-discovered his love of horses, and three years ago bought Jessie and Blue, and his great delight now was to drive a hackney carriage and a flat cart around the farm.
His funeral, in a horse-drawn hearse, bought Silsden to a standstill.