black moustache      Edward Winpenny (1929 - 2007)      black moustache


Edward Winpenny


Edward was born in Armley, Leeds where his parent’s drapery, printing and hairdressing business was located only a few hundred yards from the Robert’s asbestos factory. He attended West Leeds High from 1934 to 1945. (Years later he was elected as President of the West Leeds Old Boy’s Association).

In 1945 he began a 5 year Metallurgical Apprenticeship at the Yorkshire Copper Works in Hunslet.  Here he developed his skills of photography, which later was to prove a change in life.  It was during this time that he met Hazel.  He did his National Service in the RAF where he trained to be a wireless mechanic and was posted to RAF Hemswell in Lincolnshire and during this time his handlebar moustache was cultivated. This qualified him to be able to become one of the early members of the Handlebar Club.

Whilst on demob leave he received a telephone call from the Picture Editor of the Yorkshire Evening Post in Leeds, offering him an interview for a position as a Staff Photographer. Edward made a snap decision of acceptance that changed the direction of his life and within an hour Edward was out on his first job for the newspaper.

He was a member of the National Union of Journalists, was elected Leeds Branch Chairman and many years later was made an Honorary Life Member.  Stories of his escapades have entertained many groups to whom he has given talks.  They range from being chased down the streets of Halifax by a man, later to be convicted of murder - to chartering a Viscount airliner for just the reporter and himself to fly out to photograph the sinking of two oil tankers on fire after colliding in the middle of the North Sea.  A lucky escape, when he was due to spend Christmas on Sea Gem, the first oilrig in the North Sea.  Fortunately for Edward, permission had not been given in time, because the oilrig sank with the loss of many lives in a severe gale on Boxing Day.  A story which Edward then covered by chartering an ocean-going tug to make the eighteen hour round journey to visit the wreck.

In 1954 Edward and Hazel were married and went to live in Roundhay.  In 1961 he was offered the position of Staff Photographer with the Daily Mail covering the North of England. He and Hazel moved to Otley. During his time in Otley, Edward was involved in many activities in the area.  He joined Otley Rotary Club in 1968, and was President of the Club twice. He was awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship by Rotary International for work in the community, which is the highest award that can be given to a Rotarian.

One of the first actions in Otley was to join Otley Preservation Society with the aim of forcing a public enquiry to object to the planning permission given before the war, allowing the extension of the Yorkgate Quarry.  This would have resulted in cutting away a section of the skyline at the top of the Chevin.  Funds were raised and as a result of a successful objection, the Otley Chevin skyline was preserved. In 1971 the Daily Sketch and the Daily Mail merged and Edward was made redundant.  This brought about the beginning of the family business in Otley.

Edward’s continued interest in the RAF was marked by his becoming a Life Member of RAFA and Committee member in the Otley branch, along with being a member of the Bomber Command Association. He became more involved the work of the Otley branch of the Royal British Legion, to which he was elected Vice Chairman as well as acting as Standard Bearer.

With the rise in popularity of the free papers Edward wrote and supplied photographs for the Otley & Ilkley Times later to become the Wharfe Valley Times.  He was involved with was the production of the Otley Past, Present & Future books for the Queen’s Silver and Golden Jubilees to raise funds for local charities.  This involved photographing every schoolchild in Otley for the Silver Jubilee book, something that he would be reminded about many times by various pupils over the years. His years as a wedding photographer had several grandmothers of brides reminding him that he had taken their wedding photographs two generations before!

He had been an active member of the Otley Chamber of Trade for over 30 years including being President and was the prime mover in getting the town of Otley registered as a Tourist Town thereby allowing legal Sunday trading.

He was a member of the Manor Club in Otley for many years which was a Gentleman’s Club being its President for the last 5 years until its closure after the end of its 100 years lease in 2002.

Edward was involved with the Otley Little Theatre of which he was an Honorary Life Patron, and was a member and supporter of the Wharfedale Agricultural Society.  He was associated with the Upper Wharfedale Fell Rescue Association based in Grassington for over fifty years and was a trustee of the Association for 20 years and was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.  The Mountain Rescue Committee recently awarded Edward a 40 years service certificate in recognition of services to mountain rescue.

In recent years Edward recognised the need in the Otley area for a First Responder Team, which allowed trained medical volunteers with special equipment to be called to people with serious life threatening conditions until the arrival of a Paramedic ambulance.  This has turned out to be one of the most successful teams in the Yorkshire Ambulance area, has atrtended over 300 calls often being called 5 or 6 times a week in the local area.

Edward had led a very full and active life to the benefit of many people.  The exposure of being near to asbestos in his early years, resulting in the Mesothelioma disease, (a form of Asbestosis) which fortunately took sixty years to develop, but regretfully took his life.

Edward will be both missed and very fondly remembered by many of the members of the Handlebar Club and their partners for his great contribution as a guide and humorous raconteur at some of our social/AGM weekends. We offer our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his wife Hazel, son Christopher, daughter Vivian and the grandchildren.


Mike Solomons