‘Champion of rural life’ killed in car accident

  • Warm tributes have been paid to pointing supporter and Pendle Forest and Craven joint-master Tom Bannister, who has died in a road accident at the age of 48.

    He was a passenger in a Range Rover that left the road near Bell Busk, North Yorks, in the early hours of Saturday, 22 June. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. The driver of the car, a 41-year-old woman, was arrested and released on police bail.

    Tom’s parents Michael and Ethne described him as “a true champion of rural life” who was “passionate about all country pursuits”.

    He was master of Stowe Beagles while at school and studied at the Royal Agricultural College before joining his family on the Coniston estate, where he ran the hotel and opened the farm shop and fishery.

    Tom was the northern representative of the Point-to-Point Authority and clerk of the course at Pendle point-to-point. The Coniston Hotel has been a major supporter of pointing in Yorkshire, sponsoring the restricted final for the region.

    He was one of three members of the Bannister family in the mastership of the Pendle Forest and Craven, along with his father Michael (also hunt chairman) and brother Nick.

    H&H pointing columnist Jacqueline Coward said: “Tom was “a huge character, loved by everyone, who did so much for our sport.”

    His sentiments were echoed by local MP Julian Smith, who said he was “a charismatic, funny and life-loving person who has died far too young”.

    Tom is survived by his 11-year-old daughter Louise.

    His funeral will take place tomorrow (Thursday 4 July) at 11am, at St Peter’s Church, Coniston Cold, near Skipton.

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