Obituary: Donald Crossley - artist and friend to many

Donald Crossley
Donald Crossley

A Calder Valley artist who had a life-long association with St Michael’s Parish Church, Mytholmroyd, has died aged 82,

Donald Crossley lived in the village where he was brought up a few doors away from his good friend and former poet laureate Ted Hughes.

Their early years spent in the area gave both men inspiration for their future - words for the poet and watercolours for the artist.

Mr Crossley had a special affection for the Pennine landscape, which he said had its own special quality of light.

But he also won praise for paintings capturing scenes from the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District.

The former Hebden Bridge Grammar School pupil showed promise as an artist while at school but it was his future wife Hilary who suggested he take up drawing.

It was while he was doodling away with a pencil and pad in a Scottish hotel during a spell of poor weather that the seed was planted.

He followed the advice and studied at evening classes in Todmorden for three years and many of his early paintings were of the Yorkshire moors.

The well-known Hebden Bridge photographer Alice Longstaff brought him to wider attention when she displayed his work in her photographic shop window.

He went on to gain many admirers and his paintings were collected by people at home and abroad.

Mr Crossley was willing to pass on his experience and he served on the committee of the Yorkshire Watercolour Society and was a member of the British Watercolour Society and a Fellow of the International Guild of Artists.

Some of his work was published by the National Trust.

His paintings were often exhibited locally and further afield.

During his working life Mr Crossley worked as a maintenance engineer at Caldene Clothing, Mytholmroyd, and was a member of the choir at St Michael’s Parish Church, Mytholmroyd.

His other interests included music, mountaineering and running.

Hebden Royd town councillor Scott Trickett paid him tribute and said: “I have known Donald for a few years and he was one of the most ‘genuine’ and nice people I have met.

“He would always have a joke with you and go out of his way to help people out. He was passionate about his community and church.

“The world has lost a truly special person and but I am sure there is another angel looking over us.”

Mr Crossley leaves his wife, Hilary, daughter Ruth and two grandchildren Edward and William.

His funeral is on February 6, at St Michael’s Parish Church, Mytholmroyd, at 1.30 pm followed by committal at Park Wood Crematorium, Elland, at 3 pm.

Family flowers only but donations would be appreciated to Overgate Hospice, Elland, and St Michael’s Parish Church.