A few years ago I interviewed one of the founder members of the Pennine Land Rover Club, listened to his fantastic stories of Series vehicles, green lane runs that lasted until the early hours, mud and innocent 1960s mayhem and reported them in a now buried issue of Land Rover World magazine. Ever since then I’ve been a little in awe of Keith Leighton. Along with his comrades, Brian Pickup, Mike and Norman Close, Jeff Holmes, Tony Ainley, the Hartley brothers and Richard Hilditch, Keith represented an altogether more candid time, when you could drive up Great Whernside and not be arrested, when all rope was jute and winches went round capstans.
It is then with great shock and sadness that I have to report that news has reached me of Keith’s death after a short illness. He leaves Marion, famously rescued from her sinking galoshes on top of Dentdale in the mid 1960s and who has never needed a passport; all holidays being taken in a Land Rover, in good old Blighty. He also leaves three sons and a sprinkling of grandchildren, all familiar with the Series 2 that still sits in the garage at home near Keighley.
While few in the Pennine Land Rover Club of today will remember Keith, the part he played will remain an important part of Land Rover Club history. As I concluded when I first recounted his story, history is made up of details like the 1971 enamel National badges that Marion baked in her oven; look after them, it’s your story too.