A fond farewell to former Mayor Harry

Harry Tootell
Harry Tootell

A former Mayor of Todmorden who played a full part in the town’s social life has died at the age of 90.

Harry Tootell was born in Castleton, Rochdale, and after attending St Edward’s Junior School and Castlemere Central School started work at 14 in an ironmonger’s shop in Castleton. Six months later he joined Taylor Brothers engineering works in the town as a turner, and was then an apprentice electrician for the Lancashire Cotton Corporation.

It was while working as an electricianat Mons Mill, Todmorden, that he met Joy, who was working in the office at the mill They married at Todmorden Parish Church in 1945.

Harry joined the RAF and served for two and a half years before returning to Todmorden and joining the family business of H. J. King, ironmongers, at Church Street, Todmorden. Harry and Joy retired from the business in 1994. Harry was also involved in the scouting movement, becoming scout leader of the 20th Calder Valley Scouts, based at Christ Church. He stayed there until 1967 when he completed a bumper 32 years’ involvement with the scout movement.

Harry was also a magician, one of the original members of the Carnival Committee and a founder member of the town twinning association. He also loved singing and was a member of the choir at St. Mary’s for a number of years. Harry was elected to the former Todmorden Borough Council in 1957 and he and Joy were Mayor and Mayoress in 1965-66.

Following the reorganisation of local councils in 1974 Harry was elected to Calderdale Council for four years. He still continued on Todmorden Town Council and was also elected to the West Yorkshire County Council for four years.

He leaves his wife Joy, their children Ian, Hilary and Susan, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held at St. Mary’s church Todmorden, on Wednesday, August 26, at 2pm. Family flowers only - donations are welcome - c/o Ian to Age Concern Todmorden or the Alzheimer’s Society. No mourning clothes.