In Memoriam: Frank Hardy

 ( taken from the address read at his funeral )

You know the old adage said of some people - “you will be late for your own funeral” well Frank Hardy has confounded us today by being on time, not that he had any hand in it. We shall miss Frank arriving late for the annual dinner but I rather suspect that he would be pleased to be on time this morning seeing that so many of his friends have come along to say farewell.

As many of you discovered for yourselves Frank was a taciturn person, rarely did he start a conversation, but when prompted or asked a question once he got going he was a good conversationalist and very interesting to listen to. That was because he was a man of many accomplishments, he had crammed so many things into his sixty one years.

He was a sheet-metal worker by trade but could turn his hand to most things, especially mechanical. He was a keen sea diver as Bev Stevens can tell you, he skied as Frank Croll can tell you, he fell walked as I can tell you, he was a mountaineer and had climbed the odd alp as Peter Liewellyn can tell you. He even enjoyed the odd pint as everyone will tell you. In his younger days he was a boxer of some note.

Frank enjoyed the company of people and friends who engaged in these activities.
It was about 20/25 years ago that he was engaged in, what was to him at that time, a comparatively new activity — Speleology. He was down in Gaping Gill when he took a tumble down the boulder ruckle in the main chamber. Frank Croll happened to be down there at the time and it was he who helped him out and walked him down to Clapham. Frank Croll suggested that if Frank was still interested in caving and keen to do more, perhaps he should think of joining a caving club, and what better club than the RRCPC of which he was a member; and so it came about that Frank Hardy became a member and added yet another accomplishment to his list, that of a first rate speleologist. During his years with the club he made many new friends, attended many meets at home and overseas, and took part in many non meet caving trips.

At the time of his death Frank was studying for an engineering degree at Salford University and it will come as no surprise to learn that Frank was with a party of cavers from the university, including some novices, doing a trip down Sell Gill Holes. He was on his way out via the 14Oft wet route when he collapsed and died, probably from a heart attack, so his death was no caving accident. He died doing something he enjoyed doing, something he did well, passing on his knowledge gained by long experience to the next generation of cavers and doing it in the company of’ friends.

I understand that Frank had no living relatives in this country and only one aging one in Canada who is unable to be here today. He may lack relations but he certainly doesn’t lack friends as this mornings turnout testifies.

May I take this opportunity to thank the CR0 and especially little Budge for bringing Franks mortal remains to the surface and to thank everyone here for coming to say farewell to him.

I think Frank Croll put it succinctly when he said of his friend whom he had introduced to our club “Frank Hardy was a good friend to be with.”

Tony Tanner.

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