Yorkshire hotelier Tom Bannister dies in car crash
Tom Bannister, one of North Yorkshire's most prominent hoteliers has died following a car accident on Saturday, near Skipton.
Bannister, 48, managing director of the Coniston Hotel & Country Estate at Coniston Cold was a passenger in a Range Rover being driven towards Bell Busk, near Skipton.
Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene after the car crashed off the road and came to a rest in a nearby field. He is survived by a 11-year-old daughter, Louise.
Bannister worked with his parents, Ethne and Michael Bannister, and together they built up the 71-bedroom hotel into a four-star property. The family has owned the 1,500 acre Coniston Estate since the late 1960s.
After being educated at primary schools in North Yorkshire and Stowe School in Buckingham, where he was a keen sportsman, Bannister studied at the Royal Agriculture College in Cirencester.
Returning to Yorkshire, he helped his mother and father open a farm shop and fishery at the Coniston Estate before heading to London to pursue a growing interest in catering and undertook work experience at Leith's School of Cookery and leading delicatessens. In 1992 he once again returned to Yorkshire to open the Coniston Tearooms. He then went on to became one of the driving forces behind the launch of Coniston hotel in 1998.
Bannister was a hands-on managing director at the hotel, often serving breakfast to guests in the morning, as well as dinner to them in the evening. Last year, the hotel was runner-up in the Yorkshire Tourism White Rose Awards.
Bannister also gave considerable time to the local community and recently was a member of Manorlands Hospice Fund Raising Committee (including helping the charity to raise more than £50,000 last year) and the northern representative of the Point to Point Association. He was passionate about all country pursuits, including hunting and shooting on the estate, and loved horses and racing, particularly point to point.
Michael and Ethne Bannister said they are "very grateful" for the widespread tributes which have been paid to their son following his death.
Friends have praised his great sense of humour and have said he was "a great supporter of countryside pursuits" and "a lovely country gent".
Chef Stephanie Moon called Bannister, a former boss, "a true friend and a great loss to Yorkshire" and Julian Smith, MP for Skipton & Ripon, Smith said he was "a charismatic, funny and life-loving person who has died far too young".