Mrs. Ethne Bannister

Sylvia Harrop
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

Mrs. Ethne Bannister was elected to succeed Bill Mitchell as the Trust’s fourth President at the AGM last October.

Mrs. Bannister is a local girl. She was born in Skipton, the eldest of three daughters of Thomas and Rhodabel Garnett, and her maternal grandfather was a Skipton G.P., Dr. Norman Macleod. Her father was in the wool trade in Bradford, and the family lived first in Bingley and then from 1939 to 1965 in Gargrave. After boarding school she went to a London Secretarial College before marrying Michael Bannister at Gargrave in 1956. In 1969 they bought the old Coniston Hall, which was in a very dilapidated condition, demolished it and used the stones to build the elegant house you see today. They also developed the estate, bit by bit, to make it sustainable and economic, including at one time a shop, for which Mrs. Bannister made some of the produce.

After bringing up her family of four children, Mrs. Bannister gave her time willingly to a wide range of educational, religious and charitable bodies. When her name is mentioned, people immediately think of her tireless work for all sorts of different causes. She is or has been a governor of Skipton Girls’ High School, Malsis and Stowe Schools, church warden of St. Peter’s, Coniston Cold, President of local sections of the British Legion and of Age Concern and Trustee of Skipton Building Society Charitable Foundation - and supported many other organisations. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, cooking, sewing and reading. Her interests are wide and eclectic: she is particularly interested in local history and research, and is an authority on Coniston Hall and its previous owners, and on the families of other nearby halls. She not only gives talks on these subjects, but also on the History of Buttons and of Christening Gowns and the Orient Express. One friend of hers summed her up thus: ‘Craven through and through’. We hope that she will enjoy being our President, and welcome her in her new post.