AIREBOROUGH Rotary has paid the following tribute to Philip Livesey who died in May at the age of 78.

Philip qualified to join the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in 1965 and subsequently became a Fellow in 1975 a senior figure in Yorkshire. From 1990 his company was Ackroyd Dent & Co in Yeadon, a firm specialising in commercial and retail premises.

Highly regarded in the property world, his high level of expertise was reflected in his appointment in later years to be a member of the local Rents Tribunal.

The local community was very important in his life. When Fewston and Blubberhouses PCC voted in 2015, to keep St Andrew’s Church open, Philip was instrumental in forming the Friends of Blubberhouses Church Committee, becoming its first Chair. With his professional background, he showed an unstinting commitment to get the church building made good, steering the way to positive outcomes for St Andrew’s.

He also played the organ at Blubberhouses church for many years, though he modestly played down his ability, where his Mum, Elsie, attended services.

Fewston Bellringers was a millennium initiative, all novices together – not the recommended way to start a bell ringing team. Philip added to the beginners’ camaraderie, enjoyed the ringing and the varied social outings to Cheshire and Wales and meals out on ringing trips. He willingly took on the job of treasurer, which was really appreciated by the bellringers.

In the early days of the Washburn Centre tearoom, Philip was one of the early, regular volunteers, brilliant at appeasing and chatting to customers as those ‘beginners’ behind the counter scrambled to get orders and mishaps sorted – frequently that overflowing coffee machine. Latterly even though in poor health, he became an indefatigable fund raiser for Macmillan cancer support

In all these areas Philip’s guidance, commitment and good humour will never be forgotten. He will be sorely missed by all of those who knew him.

Graeme Parker introduced Philip to the Rotary Club of Aireborough in 1993 and two years later he took on the role of Community and Vocational Service Chair starting with the Engine Fields project. Later he collaborated with the other Leeds clubs and the Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drug Education. As part of a Skills for Life project in primary and secondary schools costing £26000 321 teachers were trained and 400 manuals issued.

In 2003 he became club secretary, another role he particularly enjoyed being an excellent speaker and able to give free rein to his wry humour in delivering secretary’s notices to meetings and writing board minutes.

He had a memorable year as club president with his ability to break the mould. Who will forget the Spring Fling, a social event he organised with a Hillbilly Band called the Rough ‘n Ready Boyz which encouraged dancing to match. Perhaps his greatest claim to fame was leading from the front as president in the fancy dress competition at the Scarborough Conference. The theme was Movies and the ‘101 Dalmatians’ emerged victorious, taking the floor to Who let the dogs out.’

His greatest legacy was to follow in his role as membership chair and a founder member of the group who helped the club evolve more flexibly. The new structures with the addition of a ‘no frills’ Thursday evening meeting proved to be attractive in recruiting new members and providing a more focussed capacity to manage the growing list of community projects the club was undertaking.

Invited to speak to the Rotary District 1040 annual conference in Scarborough (2013) he eloquently pressed the message of the need for more flexible and diverse clubs across the whole Yorkshire district. This led to invitations to speak at other club meetings. He also played a leading role in agreeing corporate membership status for Leeds Trinity University and Bartlett’s insurance group. He became a supporter of those who were criticising waste and inefficiency in the way Rotary managed its national budget and national events. For his wide ranging contributions it was no surprise when the club made him a Paul Harris Fellow, Rotary’s highest accolade.

Holding an interactive quiz to attract new members was another gem. As the first quiz master he went on to set the hardest questions in the world, drawing blank looks from the rest of the sub-committee. He was a very engaging person always willing to impart his knowledge and wisdom for the benefit of others together with his support. He encouraged others to try things out, pointing out that difference of opinion was a catalyst for us all to move forward.

Increasing ill health forced him to slowly reduce his active involvement in Rotary initiatives. Though he never lost his passion for Rotary and always encouraged his Rotarian friends to carry on the mission to expand membership and increase our impact.

He died on Wednesday, May 19 in Harrogate Hospital having endured with courage a long battle against ill health. Our thoughts are with his family, life partner Gill, Fiona and Helen and Alasdair and Helen.