A WELL-known authority on Keighley’s transport history has died after a nine-month battle against cancer.

Trevor Leach – who was 72 – was a renowned bus historian, author and preservationist.

His involvement in bus preservation dated back to 1966 when he became joint owner of a former Keighley-West Yorkshire double-decker with fellow enthusiast Keith Jenkinson, of Bradford, who had ‘rescued’ the vehicle a few years earlier.

The 1938 Bristol K5G, subsequently rebuilt with a new Roe body, had been withdrawn from public service in 1962.

Mr Leach – of High Cote, Riddlesden – became sole owner of the vehicle in 1973 and ran and maintained it for 20 years. It was then sold to a senior manager at Keighley & District Travel for continued preservation.

The bus, which carried the fleet number KDG26 in its Keighley-West Yorkshire days, is the only one of its type still in existence and continues to appear at events.

After selling the K5G, Mr Leach’s interest in West Yorkshire Road Car Company led him to take on responsibility for another of the firm’s former buses – a preserved 1962-built SUL4A single-decker. He owned the vehicle until recently, when he passed it on to a fellow preservationist.

In addition to his preservation activities, Mr Leach – a British Telecom estates manager until his retirement in 2000 – was an acknowledged expert on the history and vehicles of West Yorkshire Road Car Company.

He was editor of the West Yorkshire Information Service newsletter from 1967 until it ceased publication in 2012. And he wrote books on the early history of public transport in the Harrogate and Keighley areas, which became strongholds of West Yorkshire operations between the late 1920s and 1989.

Mr Leach produced a definitive history of all the vehicles operated by Keighley-West Yorkshire, and earlier this year wrote the introduction for a book by Alan Whitaker – a former journalist with Keighley News sister title, the Telegraph & Argus – marking the 30th anniversary of the demise of West Yorkshire Road Car Company.

Mr Leach leaves a wife, Shirley, daughter Susan and grandchildren Rachel and Lily.

His funeral is at Ilkley Road Methodist Church, Riddlesden, on Wednesday, January 15, at noon.