The Nidderdale Voices column with John Carter

John Carter.
John Carter.

Angels do not always appear swathed in long, white robes topped with feathery wings. They come in all shapes and sizes and this week I want to introduce you to one of my own particular angels.

The scene is set – a holiday weekend and all the family are arriving to stay. Horror of horrors! The loo is blocked up and to add to the complications it is a small pipe system. Plumbers do not mind putting in the small pipe system but when accidents happen they just don’t want to touch them and there is nothing for it but to send for a “proper man” – John Carter.

John Carter has always collected his tools immediately and rode out to rescue us in the rural communities.

John Carter has always collected his tools immediately and rode out to rescue us in the rural communities.

As a toddler, John was evacuated up North from an orphanage in London and was fortunate enough to be adopted by loving foster parents, so all his childhood memories are of growing up in Leeds. He started his working life as a trainee Gas Engineer with the Gas Board and met his wife Pat on a blind date. When they married they moved to Otley and bought a house.

There was a lot to be done to the house and when a family had to be accommodated extra toilet facilities were needed.

The answer was of course Saniflo which works through a macerator and very small pipes enabling water to flow where other plumbing cannot reach. All went well until as always an accident happens and a handkerchief or other foreign object refused to respond to the flush.

John tackled the problem and discovered that one of the parts had rusted.

This would not have happened if stainless steel had been used, so he wrote to the company who responded immediately to his suggestions.

The rest is history. The company sent John to London on a course and when he returned he started his own business.

Describe a typical day

With more student flats being developed in Leeds the business has grown and my son in law has taken it over, leaving me free to enjoy my big garden and of course make trips out to Nidderdale to visit my old friends. I am now quite likely to bump into you in Pateley Bridge escorting my grandchildren to one of the many events.

What would be your perfect day out?

We have always managed to fit in a holiday each year. When the children were little it was either the beach or a caravan at Heathfield, but as they have grown up we have been bitten by the travel bug and have visited India, China, Egypt etc. and even Disney Land. Now, on a day out we bring the grandchildren to Brimham Rocks or let them have a run around Coldstones Quarry.

What is your favourite part of the Dale?

Pateley Bridge. There is always so much happening. The whole family loves the Forties weekend. It was after seeing a Spitfire displayed on the field at this event that I had the thrill of my life when my family clubbed together and bought me the opportunity to go up in one of these magnificent machines.

What is your favourite Nidderdale business?

Any of the cafes on Pateley High Street.

What is the biggest change you have seen in Nidderdale?

I miss the wood yard at Dacre Banks but I love the development at Cod Stone cuts.

What makes Nidderdale special?

It is a rural spot that is easy to reach from industrial Yorkshire.

If there is one thing that you could change what would it be?

Nothing. It is lovely to have had a job where you were made so welcome.

I have always found in life that when one door closes another opens.