Tributes paid to a ‘true Yorkshireman’

John Rukin
John Rukin

Tributes have been paid to a “true Yorkshireman” John Rukin who died after collapsing on the Spen Valley Greenway.

Mr Rukin fell ill while cycling with his daughter Sarah on Friday and died in Dewsbury and District Hospital later that day.

Mr Rukin was a well known figure in Hartshead and Hightown, having run J and MJ Rukin butchers in Hightown for 11 years alongside his wife Margaret.

Mrs Rukin paid tribute to her husband, saying: “He made an impression on everyone he met. If he’s up there now and God wanted a butcher or a gardener he would be the first to step forward.

“He was the salt of the earth type, he’d give you his last penny, that was the sort of man he was. He was a character.

“John had a very dry sense of humour – you couldn’t tell if he was joking or not.”

He was a butcher all his life, and reared pigs and ran a smallholding in Hartshead.

His hobbies were gardening and looking after his geese, hens and Jerry, his 20-year-old Shetland pony.

Mr Rukin was often seen with Jerry near his home and along the Greenway and sometimes closely followed by his grand children, with one usually riding the pony.

Mr Rukin was born at the Hollies in Heckmondwike on October 16 1943 and spent his childhood in Hartshead. He met his future wife Margaret on a blind date. The couple married in 1965 and brought up three children, Simon, Stephen and Sarah. Following his death last Friday, the family marked the spot on the Greenway with a floral tribute.

His funeral will be held on Wednesday March 21 at Dewsbury Moor Crematorium at 11am.

Mrs Rukin said: “With him being a man of the soil we chose the first day of spring for his funeral. It seemed fitting.”

He leaves Margaret, sons Simon and Stephen, daughter Sarah and his six grandchildren.