HE helped establish one of the household names of the British food industry.

Now Edgar Dickinson has died, at the age of 87.

Mr Dickinson, along with brother Joseph, built up Longley Farm to become market leader in the food industry.

But Mr Dickinson, of New Mill, was also a great philanthropist.

In particular he devoted a lot of time and money to helping Hade Edge Band and was delighted when a new bandroom was named The Edgar Dickinson Building in his honour.

His efforts in business and in charitable work earned him an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2005.

He was also a leading Freemason and was closely involved with the movement’s charitable efforts over many years.

Mr Dickinson was brought up in Shepley where his father, also called Edgar, established a successful dairy business called Abbey Dairy.

The family did leave West Yorkshire to spend a few years in Exmouth, Devon, but yearned for a return north and moved back to Huddersfield.

Mr Dickinson was taken on as an apprentice at the former Hopkinsons’ engineering factory in Birkby but left there during the war to become an agricultural contractor.

His nephew, Jim Dickinson, said: “He was incredibly well-known within the farming community across the whole region through the contracting business, when he set out machines to do many of the major tasks such as thrashing.” In 1948 the two Dickinson brothers were bequeathed the 30-acre Longley Farm at Hade Edge by their great uncle Jonas Hinchliffe.

Joseph Dickinson started work on the farm immediately but it was several years later in the mid-50s that Edgar joined him and the brothers set up the partnership which was to establish Longley Farm, over the next five decades.

In particular, the Holmfirth firm became famed for its prize-winning yoghurt and other dairy products.

For many years the business was run as J & E Dickinson Ltd, and many still knew it as that even when the Longley Farm brand became established.

Mr Jim Dickinson said: “The two brothers both decided to retire from the business on the same day in 1997, with my father Joseph aged 75 and Edgar aged 73.

“But in truth, Edgar never did retire.

“In addition to Longley Farm, he had taken over a complex called Bowers Mill at Barkisland which was rented out to a number of companies.

“One was a plastics business that he himself owned and ran, and he was still there right up to his death.

“Part of the mill was also converted to a function hall called The Venue and that has been used to stage many charity events as well as social functions.”

Mr Dickinson’s links with Hade Edge Band began in the 1990s, when he stepped in to sponsor the band when it was practically on its knees.

Two years later, he helped revive its junior band and he was instrumental in putting together much of the funding for the band’s new headquarters.

He was a long-serving president and also a keen follower of the band on their contest and concert tours.

He was a former councillor on the old Holmfirth Urban District Council and was a Freemason for many years.

He lost his wife Renee some years ago but is survived by three children, Michael, Judith and Claire, and grandchildren Zarah, Josephine, Raoul and Marlo.

A service to celebrate his life will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Holmfirth, at 1pm on Monday, August 1.