Lengthsman Andrew loses battle with cancer

Andrew Smith with his pet dog Scamp. (S)
Andrew Smith with his pet dog Scamp. (S)

A community spirited Earby man known for his love of all things mechanical has died after a cancer battle.

Andrew Smith (64) of Longroyd Road, died peacefully at home on Sunday, September 20th after fighting lung cancer for two years.

He was into anything mechanical and would turn his hand to anything because he was one of life’s doers

Jean Etheridge

Mr Smith, who was Earby Town Council’s lengthsman and fond of wearing high vis clothing, was given a fitting send off by friends and family at his funeral last Friday.

Led by a police escort, Earby Town Council used its tractor and trailer to take Mr Smith’s coffin, draped in orange high vis and reflective strips, up to All Saints’ Church.

Paying tribute this week, Mr Smith’s partner of 14 years, Jean Etheridge, said: “Andrew would definitely have approved of the high vis.

“He was into anything mechanical and would turn his hand to anything because he was one of life’s doers.

“I don’t think he knew how much he was liked by people. I’ve had so many cards saying what a gentleman and good friend he was.

“He had a good sense of humour and was always cracking practical jokes.

“I’d like to thank Pendleside Hospice staff for their care, they were wonderful, and the staff at Airedale where he went or his chemotherapy.”

Born in Skipton, Mr Smith lived most of his life in the Earby area and in his early years was head chorister in the All Saints’ Church Choir. He went to primary school in Earby and then Barnoldswick County Secondary School before getting a job at Booth and Speak’s.

Mr Smith then joined his dad working at Johnson and Johnson as a maintenance man, the start of a 40 year career with the company, which later became Systagenix.

In the 1970s, Mr Smith also had a mobile disco and “Andy’s Public Address System” where he toured the local shows in his van.

Away from work, Mr Smith was best known for his love of steam and anything mechanical, and took early retirement to make more time to enjoy his hobbies.

He was a member of Bancroft Mill in Barnoldswick, a volunteer on the Embsay and Bolton Abbey Steam Railway, and part of the Craven Old Wheels Group.

An occasional baker, Mr Smith’s almond slices were a triumph, and he also counted plumbing as a hobby, creating an intricate watering system at his home to keep the plants looking colourful and vibrant in the summer months.

Mr Smith’s handyman skills were put to good use on a voluntary basis around Earby for the town council which included everything from mending benches to watering plants.

Even after his cancer diagnosis two years ago, Mr Smith did not let it hold him back, and he continued to do a paper round in Salterforth and loved walking his 10 month old cockapoo Scamp, the latest in a long line of much loved dogs he had from an early age.

Mr Smith leaves behind partner Jean. He was cremated at a private ceremony at Skipton Crematorium.