Ron Bairstow

RON Bairstow, who has died aged 90, was the man who founded Baildon’s Scarecrow Walk in September, 2008.

On that first occasion, around 100 hand-made scarecrows appeared around the village, 50 of them put together by children from Glenaire Primary School.

The event was organised by the village’s In Bloom committee to raise funds for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

Mr Bairstow also helped Baildon in Bloom win silver awards in 2007 and 2008.

His wartime service as a petty officer in the Royal Navy saw him in charge of the engine room of a naval ship which was stationed three miles off the Normandy coast ahead of the D-Day landings in June, 1944.

It was to be a last communications outpost for the British, US and Canadian troops who were to be parachuted ahead of the amphibious landings; if detected by the German coastal artillery, it would have been a sitting target, and one carrying 6,000 gallons of high-octane fuel.

After the war, Mr Bairstow worked in the ladies fashion business, where he met his late wife, Val.

He had his own radio show in Leeds for a time, and in his later years he visited nursing homes to read to residents, and he was a regular speaker for the local branch of the Alzheimer’s Society. He also published and performed his own poetry.

After moving to Baildon, he and his wife became members of the Shipley Glen Singers, and he became heavily involved in community life there.

In recognition of his community work, in 2009 he was a guest at a heroes’ tea party at 10 Downing Street, his name having been put forward by Shipley MP Philip Davies.