Obituary: Frank Bull, auctioneer and community worker

Frank Bull, who has died at 97, was a noted auctioneer, an honorary citizen of Whitby and a founder member of Whitby Round Table.

Frank Bull.

Frank Bull, who has died at 97, was a noted auctioneer, an honorary citizen of Whitby and a founder member of Whitby Round Table.

Born in Otley, he moved to the coast as an infant, with his parents, brothers and sisters. He remained in Whitby for most of the rest of his life, save for the war years when he when he served in the Royal Corps of Signals.

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It was an eventful period. Having trained as a wireless operator at Bletchley Park, he was sent on special operations to the outstations in the eastern Mediterranean including Egypt, Palestine, Italy, Yugoslavia – surviving being shot down and blown up by a mine in Italy. When peace came, he was in India as NCO in charge of the pay department for the troops and civilians in Delhi.

Before the war and upon leaving Whitby Grammar, he had joined the local firm of auctioneers, valuers and estate agents, GA Suffield and Co. He returned after his military service and was taken into partnership in 1952, on the death of the founder. He then took over the business and brought in his brother, Kenneth Bull, and two further partners.

Mr Bull had a particular flair as an auctioneer, and his love of the saleroom and all who came to it made him a well-known character across the region.

But he never forgot his service days. He became a member of the Royal British Legion and remained so until his death, helping to organise the local Poppy Appeal and later being honoured with the Gold Legion Badge.

In 1955 he helped found the Round Table in Whitby, taking up numerous official roles over the years. At 40 he transferred to the Association of Ex-Tablers Clubs and became its national president in 1987. He was made a life honorary member in 2014.

Mr Bull attended Brunswick Methodist Church from childhood and actively supported Whitby Methodist Church, supplying financial advice and also rolling up his sleeves when the need arose, to assist with events and maintenance.

In 2008 he was made an honorary citizen of Whitby in recognition of his contribution to the life of the town, and in 2017 he was awarded the British Empire Medal, presented by the Duchess of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle.  

He married Joy Harrison in 1952 and they had two children, Guy and Ruth. He moved to Alnwick in 2012 to be near his daughter.