TRIBUTES have been paid to Colonel Richard Nicholas Crossley, who died earlier this month, aged 81.
Mr Crossley’s family originated from Yorkshire and founded the family firm, Crossley Carpets of Halifax. His grandfather was made the first Baron Somerleyton in 1916, and Nick was born in 1932 and brought up at Somerleyton Hall, in Suffolk.
After attending Eton and Sandhurst, he was commissioned into the 9th Queens Royal Lancers and joined his Regiment in BAOR.
In 1957 he was posted to be Adjutant of A Squadron of the Queens Own Yorkshire Yeomanry at York, which brought him home.
In 1958, he married Alexandra Welch and they had three children, John, Amanda and Lucy. Three years after his marriage and after further service with his regiment in Germany, he retired from the regular Army and devoted the next 30 years of his life to the Territorial Army, rising to command the Queens Own Yeomanry from 1973 to 1976, getting his Territorial Decoration in 1973, being appointed Colonel TA North East District from 1978 to 1981, and TAVR ADC to HM The Queen from 1980 to 1983.
He ended his commitment to the TA by being Honorary Colonel of the Queens Own Yeomanry from 1990 to 1993.
Not long after leaving the regular Army, he and his family settled at Westfield Farm, near Malton, which was to be his home for the rest of his life. He loved the farm and built it up to be the leading arable farm that it is today.
He took part in local activities, in particular he held long and successful joint masterships of the Middleton Hunt for 22 years; he was sole Master of the Derwent Hunt from 1976 to 1980.
He was, for many years, a director of the Brandsby Agricultural Trading Association, he was president of the Hunters Improvement Society in 1992, and of Peterborough Royal Foxhound Show in 2012.
His record of public service was notable; he was High Sheriff of North Yorkshire from 1989 to 1990, a deputy lieutenant for the county from 1988 to 1992, and a member of Her Majesty’s Bodyguard of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms from 1982 to 2002.
Among his many other commitments he worked tirelessly for the National Asthma Campaign (now Asthma UK), raising a considerable sum for that charity in memory of his wife, Xandra, who had died suddenly of asthma in January 1990.
He suffered a second tragedy in his life when his son, John, was killed in a skiing accident in 2003.
He was an area Governor of the Ocean Youth Trust, a trustee of the Stable Lads Welfare Trust for 10 years, as well as fundraising for York Minster. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 in recognition of his services to charity.
In 1995, he married Priscilla Kennedy (née Graham) and in his latter years he travelled extensively and was able to indulge his interests, which were all based on the countryside.
He was active until his final illness and had only recently acquired a new horse and rode regularly.
He was a keen and competent shot, fisherman and sailor, and was much respected as a judge of hounds.
His own breed of terrier, which he had nurtured for about 40 years, small black and tans, became widely known as “Crossley terriers”.
Close friend Richard Dangar said: “It would be hard to imagine a straighter or more honourable person. He was a regular worshipper at Old Malton Priory and his faith meant a great deal to him. He was held in great esteem by all those that he came into contact with, he was a true and loyal friend to so many in every walk of life, and he will be much missed in his county of North Yorkshire where he had become so well-known and so well-liked.”
A memorial service will be held on a date yet to be announced.