WHEN David Clark says of his godfather Peter Bryant he “lived a full life” he isn’t wrong.
There’s little the Saddleworth businessman, entrepreneur, inventor, arts patron, sportsman, sailor, broadcaster and all-round community conscious individual didn’t cram into his 78 years.
He won the Queens Award for Exports, was twice British rally champion and who wouldn’t want to dine out on a tale of how they found themselves thrown into a fountain with Sixties model and show girl Mandy Rice-Davies?
Peter died at his holiday home in Majorca on December 8, 2020. His funeral took place on January 27, 2021 at St Chad’s Church, less than half a mile from his beloved Uppermill home and its commanding views of the Saddleworth countryside.
A striking piece of sculpture in his impressive gardens has been bequeathed to Saddleworth Parish Council.
“I miss him terribly,” said David, paying tribute to the former Hulme Grammar pupil.
“He was a brilliant thinker and a big influence on a lot of people, including me. We are all going to miss him.
“He was very popular locally, helping with the village Christmas lights, at the cricket club and as governor at St Chad’s School in Uppermill. His mum, Dorothy, also used to run a tearoom in the village.”
Peter was born in Oldham on November 25, 1942. A sense of adventure and business acumen was clearly in the family genes.
His grandfather, Jack Bryant, hitchhiked to New Zealand around 1900 and established an iron foundry before heading home.
Peter obtained his glider pilot’s licence at an early age, competed in cycling time-trials before his introduction to higher speeds through the High Moor Motor Club.
Interviewed for a fascinating insight into his early life by fellow rally champion and author Mick Briant, Peter recalled: “To start rallying in the 1960s you didn’t even need to own a car.
“I and many others, I am sure, competed on more than one occasion over the weekend in cars rented from Avis, returned to the rental company on a Monday morning after a brief steam, clean.”
Peter studied electrical engineering at Durham University but after contracting a rare skin disease continued his degree at UMIST in Manchester.
He created the Manchester and Salford Automobile Club and invited Rice-Davies, forever linked to Christine Keeler and the Profumo affair political scandal, as a speaker to his address to the Student Union.
He was subsequently elected Union vice-president and then thrown into the fountain with his guest!
Peter eventually left Saddleworth to work in London, working in telecommunications and the fledgling IT industry.
He helped establish Hoskyns Systems Management but away from work had established a growing reputation in the rallying world, primarily as a co-driver.
With Harold Morley, he won the first of two British Championships; the second in 1976 with ‘Flying Finn’ Ari Vatanen cemented his place as one of the best.
Peter was best man at Vatanen’s wedding and also godfather to the former European Parliament MP’s daughter Ria.
Their rallying partnership ended in 1979 but the two remained good friends; Vatanen contacting David on several occasions to offer condolences prior to Peter’s funeral.
In the 1980s, Peter’s career as entrepreneur and inventor began to take off after a rallying career that yielded around 30 victories.
He established Pipeline Induction Heat Limited in 1980 which is now regarded as the world’s leading field joint coating company.
His profile on the website for Milnsbridge- based ProVu – a company he co-founded in 1999 – says Peter developed “a string of successful new start-up operations in the energy sector, achieving the Queens Award for Exports along the way: his hallmark being a reputation for both bold innovation and rapid profitable growth.
“This experience saw him play a key role in the privatisation of the UK energy industry in the 1990s, followed by further moves into the wider European energy stage, pioneering the entry of E-ON into the midstream gas industry.”
Writing the introduction to his insight into Peter’s life, Mick Briant said: “I slowly began to realise that Peter’s relaxed style belied a person who would always succeed at whatever he turned his hand to.”
And boy did he succeed at so many things. A tribute page has been set up with donations to be made to the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Centre at Wythenshawe Hospital.
To donate visit https://peter-john-bryant.muchloved.com