Daughter reveals her heartache and pain following death of her caver father Harry 'Eski' Hesketh

Harry Hesketh with his daughter Wendy and grandchild (Yorkshire Post)
Harry Hesketh with his daughter Wendy and grandchild (Yorkshire Post)
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The daughter and friends of an experienced caver who died after falling down a pothole in the Yorkshire Dales have spoken of their pain and heartache as they pay tribute to a "kind and loving" man.

Harry Hesketh, 74, fell 20ft inside the cave at Curtain Pot on Fountains Fell on June 1, breaking his leg.

Harry Hesketh (Mike Thomas/SWNS)

Harry Hesketh (Mike Thomas/SWNS)

A rescue team of 90 people spent 17 hours trying to save his life, but despite their efforts the retired computer programmer, who was born and raised in Chorley, sadly lost his life.

Mr Hesketh's daughter Wendy Uchimura and his closest friends have spoken exclusively to our sister paper the Yorkshire Post to pay tribute to him.

Mrs Uchimura, 43, said: "My earliest memories of dad are him reading The Hobbit to me as a bedtime story and him taking me on seriously long walks across the moors. He would then have to give me a piggy-back home.

"We spent so many happy times going on walks all around the Dales and the Lake District with him.

Harry Hesketh with his grandson at Salts Mill (Yorkshire Post)

Harry Hesketh with his grandson at Salts Mill (Yorkshire Post)

"Dad came across as strict and a bit scary - especially to my boyfriends - but was was actually very kind and loving.

"He gave me the freedom to do what I wanted, while being there for me if I needed and this is something I have inherited and try to do for my children too."

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Mrs Uchimura remembers how her dad always liked to be active, with caving and potholing his biggest passions in life.

She said: "He joined the Northern Pennine Club in the 1960s and was involved in exploration of a number of potholes on Fountains Fell over the years.

"My dad went potholing at least twice a week, whenever possible. After retirement, I know he also made several trips to Matienzo in northern Spain to explore new cave systems there.

"He also helped at Stump Cross Caverns to remove debris from Reindeer Cavern, so it could be opened to the public in 2000."

Born in Chorley, Lancashire, Mr Hesketh, known to many of his friends as Eski, moved to Yorkshire in his late teens.

He trained as a computer programmer and worked for Craven District Council in the days when digitalisation was still in its very early stages.

He met his wife Tres in the late 1960s when he visited the village she lived for a caving meet.

The couple had their daughter and settled in the village of Bradley, just outside of Skipton. They went on to divorce many years later, but remained good friends.

Mr Hesketh's caving partner Frank Walker also has many happy memories spent exploring with his friend.

He said: "I first met Eski in the 1970s and we formed the Thursday night digging team.

"We worked on a lot of digs, including extending Coronation Pot, which was the deepest dig in the north at one time, opening up Logan Hole and finding Masada in Wet Sinks, the lost cavern of Fountains Fell, as well as exploring the pots Strangle, FOUL, Thunder and Split."

John Cordingley, a member of the Northern Pennine Club said he will remember Mr Hesketh for his "great kindness".

He said: "He played a big role in looking after our caving friend Chester when he was very ill with terminal cancer. And when another friend. Barry Andrew became ill, Eski was there all the time helping in all sorts of ways. The bloke was a rock.

"I liked and very much respected Eski, we've lost a good mate."

The Yorkshire Post's full tribute to Harry can be found here