Obituary: Frank Hellyer

Published:  20 July, 2012

CHICHESTER: Frank Hellyer worked for Covers for 66 years rising from a yardman to timber director. Covers was Mr Hellyer’s life and he did not actually retire from Covers until he was 80 years old and then only because of failing eyesight.

What Mr Hellyer didn’t know about timber wasn’t worth knowing and over the years became known within the timber industry as a ‘Timber Guru’. He was well respected within the timber and building industry for his breadth of knowledge about timber and its uses.

Mr Hellyer liked nothing better than imparting this knowledge to others, giving lectures at local colleges and schools. Many schools took up Mr Hellyer’s offer of tours of Covers' yard and he could often be seen taking classes of children around explaining about the wood where it came from, showing them the Timber Mill and how it operated and what the machined wood would be used for. He built up an archive of timber oddities, which remain at Covers, and was the subject of much astonishment and amusement to the children. All these children will remember Mr Hellyer as he was quite a character.

Frank felt he was particularly honoured for being the first and only person ever to be awarded lifetime membership of the UK Timber Trade Federation and also being voted the Observer Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

He was also very active recently wading through tons of old paperwork working with the Chichester Records Office recording past events happening in and around Chichester and is also well known for his letters to the Observer frequently correcting readers letters on past events!

Mr Hellyer’s funeral will take place at the Chichester Crematorium on Monday 23 July at 4.15pm. The funeral cortege will pass Covers yard in Quarry Lane, Chichester, at approximately 15.45hrs with Mr Hellyer travelling on one of his beloved Covers timber lorries to enable Covers staff to say their final farewells to the man who has become a Covers legend, finally arriving at the Crematorium at 4.15pm.

Mr Hellyer died peacefully on July 8 2012 surrounded by his family.

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