Death of renowned Barnoldswick accountant

Peter Gill. (S)
Peter Gill. (S)

A well-known Barnoldswick accountant with a great sense of humour has died at the age of 90.

Lifelong Barlicker Peter Gill died at his home on Saturday following a short spell in hospital.

Mr Gill had celebrated his 90th birthday in June and was thrilled to have become a great grandfather to Ava Lily in February.

He was the well-known senior partner at Windle and Bowker Chartered Accountants where he’d worked since becoming an articled clerk in 1940.

He was very happily married to Dorothy for 59 years and had two children, Michael and Kathryn, and later on became a doting grandfather to Alex and Stephanie.

As soon as he became 18, Mr Gill volunteered for the RAF Aircrew and was posted for initial training as a pilot.

This was on single engine Tiger Moths and involved 12 hours of training and then a final test with the commander.

During the test it was noted that he was flying in completely the wrong direction about 1,000ft. higher than he should actually have been.

Consequently, he was encouraged to become a navigator and sent to Canada to train.

It was here Mr Gill received his only war wound while playing ice hockey, he skidded into the perimeter fence and severely cut his arm.

He joined Bomber Command, eventually becoming a Flight Lieutenant and was posted to 44 Rhodesia Squadron at Spilsby where went on numerous “ops”.

One of the most memorable was Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s mountain hideout, where they encountered horizontal flack as the approach was in a valley.

They successfully avoided the multi-coloured shrapnel, bombed the SS barracks and returned to base flying low over France waving to the villagers who waved back.

In 1946 he was demobbed and returned to work at Windle and Bowkers where he received £1 per week in wages and a resettlement grant of £6 per week from the government.

Mr Gill was a generous, kind humanitarian who spent his 90 years enriching people’s lives and as a true Methodist, he was a popular local preacher and a staunch supporter of the Wesleyan Church in Barnoldswick.

He established its first youth group and was responsible for encouraging three of its members to become fully ordained ministers.

He was director of the Samaritans in Nelson together with his wife Dorothy and a governor of Gisburn Road School.

An enthusiastic founder member of the Barnoldswick and Earby Rotary Club, he proudly became its fourth President, even encouraging his daughter, Kathryn Mendoros, to join in later years.

The crowning moment as a Rotarian came in 2012 when he was thrilled to be awarded the Paul Harris Fellow Award for services to Rotary and received a Pride of Barnoldswick award in 2013.

An accountant with a cracking sense of humour right to the end, he used to add up the ages in the deaths column, find the average and be pleased to realise he was beating it.

Kathryn said: “He was a truly wonderful man. He will be missed immeasurably by his family and friends, having had such a positive impact on so many people’s lives.”

Mr Gill’s funeral will be held at St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Barnoldswick, today at 12-30pm.