Rotarian Syd Colman receiving the prestigious Paul Harris Hellowship in recognition of his charity work
Rotarian Syd Colman receiving the prestigious Paul Harris Hellowship in recognition of his charity work

THE funeral takes place today of well-respected businessman and Heckmondwike Rotarian Syd Colman who has died at the age of 77.

Mr Colman, the owner of Colman’s Tyre and Motor Company in Green Road, Littletown, was taken ill last Thursday night and died in the early hours of Friday morning after suffering a heart attack.

His widow, Mamie, said she had been overwhelmed by messages of condolence which had flooded in following his death.

“He enjoyed life to the full, he loved his garage – the people who worked there and the customers – and he loved his home,” she said.

“He was a lovely, lovely man but I never really knew how well thought of he was, and the messages I’ve received have been a great comfort.”

Mr Colman was born into an army family at Catterick Army Garrison, and spent his early years abroad stationed in Egypt and the Far East during the war.

“While in the Far East they had to evacuate. They were on the last boat leaving the harbour when the Japanese came and they were captured. They were put on cattle trucks and sent back to England,” said Mamie.

He was educated at the Queen Victoria Military School in Dunblane and then worked for a tyre company in Newcastle before moving to Stockton and then Manchester.

The couple met at a dance at the Rex Hotel at Whitley Bay. “I met him on Boxing Day night, and on New Year’s Eve he proposed to me,” said Mamie.

They married two years later and three years ago celebrated their golden wedding.

“He was a wonderful husband and really spoilt me. He had a great sense of humour and was very sociable, but didn’t like a lot of fuss,” said Mamie.

After moving to Huddersfield and then going into partnership briefly in Mortimer Street, Cleckheaton, Mr Colman opened his Littletown business.

It was one of the longest established garages in Spen, building up a loyal clientele over several decades.

“His expertise was tyres and working in the office, he wasn’t a mechanic, but he absolutely loved working with the men there and had a fantastic staff,” said Mamie.

“Of late he hadn’t been well, but he wouldn’t retire and the garage will continue, he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”

His love of cars helped raise around £40,000 for local, national and international charities over the years. As a member and former president of Heckmondwike Rotary, he sponsored and helped organise the annual Classic Car Rally from Roberttown which attracted entries from all over the country, and in December he was awarded Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellowship in recognition of his charity work. He was also a member of the Zetland Freemasons Lodge in Cleckheaton.

Fellow Rotarian Anthony Oade said: “He was a great guy, always willing to help out where he could and was a tireless worker. He was very well-known and respected and will be sadly missed.”

The funeral service is at 1pm at Dewsbury Crematorium.