Former Warwick business owner Malcolm Ridyard passed away earlier this month.
Former Warwick business owner Malcolm Ridyard passed away earlier this month.

Malcolm leaves his mark

MALCOLM Ridyard, the youngest of three boys, was born in Wythenshawe, Manchester to Kathlyn and George Ridyard.

At the age of five, Malcolm and his family moved to Didsbury where he went to the local junior school and became a keen member of the Cubs, later continuing to the Scouts and the Venture Scouts for the 18+ ages.

He went on to Burnage Grammar School where he eventually became head prefect.

From there in 1963 Malcolm joined the RAF, training in Cirencester and Syerston, first on fixed wing aircraft then on to helicopters.

He really loved flying choppers and was know to be a very good pilot.

Perhaps this came about from his philosophy that the most important person in his helicopter was himself.

After all if he takes care of that individual, then the others are likely to be pretty safe.

In 1965 Flying Officer Malcolm Ridyard was posted out to Aden, know as the Yemen now, as a Search and Rescue Whirlwind helicopter pilot, assisting the military during the troubled situation at the time.

He met his future wife Rita, a daughter of a senior RAF officer, at this time.

Returning to the UK when posted to RAF Valley, Anglesey, Malcolm and Rita set up home there for a few of years.

On completing his RAF service, Malcolm joined Bristow Helicopters and with wife and two sons, aged three and six months, went to work for a couple of years in the oil industry in Abu Dhabi, ferrying personnel round the oil platforms.

Malcolm then joined Sir Bill McAlpine's project off the west coast of Scotland, based at Ardyne Point, where they were building concrete oil platforms for use in the North Sea.

Malcolm ferried Sir Bill and other senior staff in and out from there to Glasgow, Aberdeen etc.

Following years saw Malcolm flying for an American oil company based in Nigeria, flying in and out on a four weekly rota, thus allowing him and his family to move south to Bradford On Avon, near Bath.

Here he started up his own business of house maintenance, while Rita joined the countrywide bed and breakfast industry.

Over the next 16 very settled years, Malcolm grew his business to employ 10 people, but also gradually engendering mounds of invoices and hours of sorting accounts.

Finally, in early 1996, Malcolm and Rita were able to fulfil their wish and immigrate to Australia and settle near Rita's sister and family in this area.

Here in Warwick, Malcolm branched out into new ventures.

Living in Wood Street while he and Rita started the slow process of building their own house in Lyndhurst Lane, Malcolm became deeply involved in the history of the area.

He joined the group of guides at Glengallan Homestead and greatly enjoyed sharing the stories of the property with the visitors, he had a very good head for facts and dates.

Around 1997 Malcolm started his Linga Longa Tours business, taking small groups of visitors in his mini bus to the growing wine industry in Stanthorpe.

This business also developed his interest and skill in desktop publishing as he and Rita produced their first brochure showcasing their tours.

At this time Malcolm could see, through the eyes of a newcomer, just what wonderful natural scenery and wildlife there was close at hand.

So gradually over the next few years he put together detailed scenic routes, with Rita's little computer drawings of the buildings and animals.

Later, Malcolm became secretary of the Warwick and District Tourist Association and with the committee they continued to develop the tourism profile of the area, particularly increasing the size of the Friday Night Carnival to include the large rigs with the fun rides for the teenage groups.

In 2005 Malcolm, as part of the Warwick Visitor Association committee, was instrumental in the opening up to the public, use of the Morgan Park Nature Reserve, on the occasion of the Morgan Park Centenary.

Malcolm continued to produce the WDTA Guide to Warwick Shire, then including the detailed scenic drives and with the assistance of Main Roads these routes have become well sign posted.

Other publications which Malcolm enjoyed creating were the Driver Reviver Flyer, Mini T Maps, the previous Killarney and District Tourism Flyer and his lasting achievement of the present large tear-off town map.

Beside these tourism ventures, for a while he joined Outsource with Mission Australia, overseeing the induction of casual workers to the John Dee Abattoir and he enjoyed driving the Warwick Taxi Cabs which he gave up when his illness started to affect him more seriously.

At this stage Malcolm thought it best to enjoy exploring particular parts of Australia while he could, a country he had come to love a great deal.

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