COLIN APPLEYARD MBE 1935–2015
One of Yorkshire’s best known and most respected businessmen, Colin Appleyard, has died aged 79. Colin started his career in 1951 working as a motorcycle mechanic for Allan Jefferies, in Shipley. By the time he left in 1970 to set up his own dealership in Keighley he had risen to become Sales Director. Over the next few years with the help of his wife Peggy the business grew into one of the country’s leading motorcycle dealers. Various major franchises were taken on, including Suzuki, and it was on the back of the success of selling their machines that the Japanese manufacturer asked Colin to launch Suzuki cars in Great Britain. From those modest beginnings in 1979 the company has grown to become the UK’s largest and most successful Suzuki car dealership, with showrooms in Keighley, Huddersfield, Ashton-under-Lyne and Shipley. It employs over 120 people, has a turnover in excess of £35 million, and in 2013 also acquired the Nissan dealership in Keighley.
As well as starting and running a successful business Colin was also highly respected in the world of motorcycle sport, and it was for his lifelong service to this sport that he was awarded an MBE in the 2013 Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
His involvement in motorcycle sport stretched back over 70 years. As a young man he joined the Bradford and District Motor Club, going on to become their youngest committee member and later serving as president before he was given the honour of being made a life member.
His motorcycle racing career spanned two decades, retiring in 1969 to concentrate on managing the successful racing career of son Robin who went on to win the British 125cc Championship on five occasions and ride in 92 Grand Prix. Over the years Colin served as a director of the Auto-Cycle Union’s governing body and for a time sat on their road-race committee.
Despite failing health Colin remained active in the business until his last few weeks. Above all, however, Colin was a devoted family man. Happily married to Peggy for 55 years he was extremely proud of his daughter Judith, son Robin, and grandchildren Cassie, Lauren, Jack and Ben plus great-granddaughters Louis and Ivy. He also leaves a daughter-in-law Diane and son-in-law Gary.
He died peacefully on Tuesday 30th June in the York Suite of the Bradford Royal Infirmary, surrounded by his family. He will be very sadly missed.
AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2015 •