Richard Rowntree (1921-1997)
Youngest son of Arnold Rowntree. He was active in politics, serving as a County Councillor and standing as a Liberal candidate for Parliament twice. A conscientious objector during the war, like his brother Michael, he served in the Friends Ambulance Unit which his father, Arnold, had helped set up in the previous war, and was influential in re-establishing it.
Richard taught people how to drive lorries and spent time in Egypt, Italy, Yugoslavia and Austria. He did a great deal of work with refugees and ran the Distressed Persons Scheme which brought people to this country to join relatives. He was involved in setting up the Educational Interchange Council which over the years has arranged exchange visits for thousands of teachers, students and children from Europe to this country.
Richard Rowntree set up a small company running self-service launderettes. In 1960 he married Mary Harper and they settled at Kingthorpe in Pickering, bringing up a family of five girls. He was a founder member of the North Yorks Historic Railway Trust, and director of the JRRT in 1964. In his last letter to the Quaker journal, The Friend, he expressed his hopes for the future of the Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland, calling on churches ‘to make friendship our centre and thus find freedom’.