RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 45 Number 1 Article 7
March 2008

Frank Croll - Obituary

"Measure twice - cut once" was one of Frank's favourite pieces of advice. Frank who had been apprenticed as a joiner was a born leader and organiser. The Club was to benefit from these skills, not least for the organisation that enabled us to replace Bullpot Farm roof and carry out other building tasks, work we could never have dreamt of tackling without his knowledge and leadership.

Frank Croll

Frank served the Club well, having held the posts of Chairman (carried out with great authority), Secretary, Tackle Master and HQ Engineer. It was Frank's additional membership of the Bradford Pothole Club that introduced us to that organisation's SRT trials with jumars, chest boxes and Marlow rope. We were also able to benefit from the Bradford's Gaping Ghyll winch meet, when we used the scaffolding to hang our SRT rope to descend the main shaft (we had previously done this on ladders, but then had to build our own dam to divert Fell Beck).

Club members were also invited on the Bradford's summer caving holidays in France, and I recall exciting adventures caving and canoeing in the Ardeche area and camping at Pont d'Arc. When canoeing down the Ardeche Gorge, Frank observed that he had seen the most dangerous sport ever, nudist fly-fishing.

Frank was active on the Council of Northern Caving Clubs and was the meets secretary for both Leck and Casterton Fells. He took his post seriously and challenged anyone coming through Bullpot farmyard to see if they had a permit. He was not someone to argue with.

I remember when we were scaling an aven off the main drain near the end of Waterfall Passage, it was found that the water in the main drain was rising. What had been a bit of a splash was at least for me, now a chest deep powerful river, backing up from the sump. Undeterred Frank tied a rope around himself and forged upstream, with us smaller people hanging on the rope behind. It was at times like this that one could appreciate that guts and size matters.

Frank was never one to be put down and following a successful heart by-pass operation cycled with his wife Diana to Istanbul, some 2300 miles in 5 weeks and 5 days, no mean feat by anyone's standards, but particularly for some one who was not going to be set back by heart problems.

Both the Club and myself owe a particular debt to Frank for his enthusiasm and contribution he made. In particular for introducing me to great French holidays, as a skiing companion in Scotland, and weekend camping forays around the Dales, taking us to interesting places such as Nidderdale Gorge. It is therefore with particular sadness that we record Frank's passing in March 2007 while he was on a skiing holiday in France. Frank had a big personality, held respect, but in turn was always happy to help others and play his part.

Peter Llewellyn

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