It is often said that the measure of a man is the company he keeps.
If that is true then a congregation, 1,000-strong, of civic and community figures, faith leaders, family, friends and former colleagues who packed out York Minister in honour of the late Barry Dodd spoke volumes for the enormous esteem in which he was held.
The Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire’s life was tragically curtailed by a helicopter crash at Aldborough, near Boroughbridge, on May 30 whilst enjoying one of his favourite hobbies, flying.
Such has been the outpouring of emotion since that the number of guests at a thanksgiving service in celebration of his life last Friday far exceeded the initial 700 that had been expected to arrive.
It was at the Minster where self-made businessman Mr Dodd CBE was confirmed in the lieutenancy four years ago so it was a fitting venue for effusive tributes in recognition of a proud
Yorkshire-man who inspired so many with his passion for people and drive for success.
Guests filtered through a military guard of honour into a nave lined with cheerful orange, yellow and white floral displays to music played by The Band of the King’s Division.
Mr Dodd’s widow Frances Dodd sat alongside with her late-husband’s sister and mother and was joined by dignitaries from across the country, including representatives of the Royal Family, Lord Chamberlain, Lord Crathorne, Colonel Sir William Worsley, South Yorkshire Lord-Lieutenant Andrew Coombe and North Yorkshire Vice Lord-Lieutenant Peter Scrope.
During a moving service tributes were given by his friends George Wilder, David Kerfoot and Gel Heagney.
Mr Wilder explained how Mr Dodd, “a man who understood his staff”, co-founded GSM Graphic Arts Ltd in Thirsk in 1974, his first company and one he would establish as the largest manufacturer of industrial graphic products in Europe.
Businessman Mr Kerfoot, who worked with Mr Dodd when he was chairman of the York and North Yorkshire with East Riding Local Enterprise Partnership, told of a “dearest friend” who cared passionately about his county and country, and how it was so important to him that he gave something back to the community.
Ms Heagney read tributes sent in letters to Mrs Dodd. They told of an “extraordinary” and “exceptional” man, an “absolute gentleman” who was a “powerful force for good”, had gravitas and humility in equal measure and who was deeply respected for the time he invested in others.
“He showed us all that we can all give more and do more for those around us,” she said.
The service continued with prayers, readings and hymns, including Jerusalem, and finished with a rousing rendition of the National Anthem.
As guests departed they did so knowing that Mr Dodd’s legacy lives on amongst all the many people he so inspired.
Mr Dodd’s widow Frances Dodd paid tribute to her late husband in the order of service.
“What a privilege to have shared such a wonderful, loving life with Barry.
“Barry was a truly inspirational person who cared about everyone he met... he will leave a void in my heart and in the lives of many others.”