Clitheroe St John Ambulance stalwart dies: tributes

Harold Howorth
Harold Howorth

Described as a “compassionate man who helped others all his life”, Harold Howorth died at Clitheroe Community Hospital with his family beside him. Harold, the elder brother of Albert, was born in 1931 to parents Albert and Sarah Howorth, of Fort Street and later Victoria Street, Clitheroe. He attended St James CE Primary School and then Ribblesdale Secondary School. As a teenager he joined his father as a volunteer for the St John Ambulance Service. This is where he became well known to the people of Clitheroe and the Ribble Valley in the 53 years that he dedicated his time to the service. In 1995 Harold travelled to London to become invested as a member of the Order of St John at a special ceremony. The Order of St John is a Royal Order of Chivalry and each investiture is approved by Her Majesty The Queen. He was admitted to the order as a Serving Brother and was presented with a medal to mark the status. In addition, in 2000 Harold received a Clitheroe Town Award for his loyal commitment. He also became a patron of the North West Air Ambulance Charity.

During Harold’s younger years at the age of 21 he was called up for National Service to the army for two years. It was during this time of being stationed abroad for nine months that he developed his love of Egypt, leading to three visits with his son, Simon, after his retirement in 1996. This gave him the chance to further develop his fascination with the history of Egypt and his love of photography.

In his late twenties Harold met his wife, Kathleen Sims, who only lived on the next street, and they married in January 1963 at Clitheroe United Reformed Church. Harold spent the majority of his working life at Atkinson’s in Clitheroe as a sheet metal worker before moving to the post of caretaker at Bowland High School, Grindleton, for 15 years prior to his retirement. Harold was a devoted member of the Methodist Church all his life, first attending Moor Lane Methodist Church (now Clitheroe’s Emporium) and later after amalgamations took place joining the congregation at Trinity Methodist Church. He was a member of the choir and would often sing solos after funding his own singing lessons in earlier years. Harold was also a member of Clitheroe Male Voice Choir and occasionally would also take part in singing competitions, with his wife playing the piano and his young daughter, Gwen, running to the front to hold his hand!

During his retirement Harold enjoyed trips around the Ribble Valley and holidays with Kathleen. He also became interested in alternative medicine and took time to study reflexology and herbalism at night school, gaining a diploma in aromatherapy massage.

His family have this week paid tribute: “Harold was a compassionate man, helping others all his life. In return he received much love and care from his wife, son, daughter, brother, sister-in-law Joan and nieces Christine and Gillian along with family friends and members of Trinity Methodist Church.”

A funeral service will be held on Friday (July 13th) at 11 a.m. at Trinity Methodist Church, Clitheroe.