Charles Tunbridge obituary

We are saddened to report the death of Chas Tunbridge, a trailblazing student leader in the 1960s who went on to restore the fortunes of a run-down Yorkshire mill and contribute to the preservation of the local urban landscape.

Young Charles participating on RAG

Charles Stuart Tunbridge was born on 7th August 1944 in Dunchurch, near Rugby. After attending Sir William Borlase's Grammar School he went up to Sheffield University in 1962. He studied Economics and graduated in 1965. He was the first paid full-time treasurer of the Student’s Union in 1965/66 and obtained a post-graduate qualification in Business Studies in 1967. Chas was a great supporter of a balanced academic life and was the first Rag Chair to raise over £10,000 in one year, and as treasurer restored the financial fortunes of the Students’ Union.

A young Charles during RAG

Following spells with Proctor and Gamble and Bondina (where he launched the Vileda brand), he bought a rundown mill in Kirkburton near Huddersfield. Over the next 30 years, he developed the mill and its products and sold the high-end tweed cloth it produced around the world. When the mill could no longer operate in its mainly residential location, Chas oversaw the development of the site into homes in keeping with the heritage of the mill and the local area.

Chas founded the Kirkburton branch of the Civic Society. He was a long-standing and active member of the Huddersfield Civic Society and the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England. He was a keen supporter of Huddersfield Rugby Club and of the Mikron Theatre Group. A qualified yachtsman, he sailed extensively in the UK and Mediterranean seas. In later life, he derived great pleasure from touring the UK waterways in his canal boat Yonderly with his faithful Labrador, friends, children and grandchildren.

Charles on a boat smiling at the camera

Chas leaves 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren.