Obituary: Raymond Harley (1940-2023)

Raymond Harley, who died last month from myeloma and kidney failure, was known to many families in South Leeds through his service as a Scout Leader for over 50 years.

Raymond was born in Holbeck and joined the cubs at St Matthew’s Church in 1947. He returned in 1960 with his own son and as a parent with scouting experience he was asked to help out, which he did.

Then when the Cubs leader left, he was asked to step up and lead the pack as ‘Akela.’ He remained a leader moving to Wesley Street Methodist Church and then St Andrew’s in Beeston where he was still helping out into his 80s.

He was honoured with a Silver Acorn award for “over 20 years distinguished service” and a special award for 50 years’ service to scouting at the annual South Leeds and Morley (SLAM) District carol concert in December 2019.

The District described Raymond, who also served as Assistant District Commissioner (Scouts) for 26 years, as:

“a steadfast, dedicated and inspiring Scouter to generations of young people. countless Scouters have benefited from the skills, wisdom and values Raymond instilled.”

Apart from scouting, Raymond ran Holbeck Football Club reaching an Elland Road cup final. He helped run Holbeck Boys Club, and every year he took a coachload full of lads abroad on a camping holiday. He was also a churchwarden at St Mary’s church in Beeston.

Raymond spent his whole working life with Royal Mail, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather (as his son followed him). He started as a Messenger and eventually retired from the Parcelforce depot at Stourton.

Raymond was married to Diane, who sadly passed away in July, and they had three children, Andrew, Jane and Sarah.
His daughter Sarah commented how “fabulous” he was:

“He was involved in so many things – he had a really full life, which gives me comfort. He had the best life and we all had the best upbringing. Everywhere you went everybody knew him. He was just an amazing man.”

He is survived by his three children, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.


Photo: Raymond Harley with fellow Scout Leaders and his wife Diane receiving his special award for 50 years service


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