Popular Pye Motors director and ex-rally driver Tony Payne passes away at 82

Tony Payne with his wife Janet.
Tony Payne with his wife Janet.

A well-known motor dealer and former rally driver has died at the age of 82.

Tony Payne passed away at St Wilfrid’s Nursing home in Halton on September 27.

Tony Payne and Colin Briars flying on an early Devils Own Rally organised by Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club. Picture by Tony North,

Tony Payne and Colin Briars flying on an early Devils Own Rally organised by Kirkby Lonsdale Motor Club. Picture by Tony North,

Tony was known in the community as a director of Pye Motors Ltd, which he joined as a salesman, working his way up to sales director and helping it to grow into the thriving business it is today.

An extremely well-liked and popular man with a great sense of humour, Tony had a gift of making people feel better for meeting him.

Married to Janet for 55 years, the couple lived in Hest Bank and have two sons; Nick, who runs Pye Motors – third generation in its 93rd year – and the late David, who passed away tragically in July.

He also leaves three granddaughters and a great grandson, Riley.

Tony was born in Keighley and moved to Morecambe with his mother and brother Graham after his dad died suddenly when Tony was 14.

They lived with his aunt in a house on Sefton Road in the West End, which his aunt and his mother ran as a guest house – meaning Tony and his brother slept in the coal house in the summer so that their bedrooms could be rented out to holidaymakers.

Tony was a well-known and respected member of Morecambe Car Club – his hobby of all things motoring grew into avidly competing from the 1960s right through to the early 2010s, with a very quick and flamboyant driving style.

In the 1960s he competed in Hillman Imps, doing the famous RAC Rallies and having support from the competitions department at Hillman in preparation and access to works spec modifications.

In his later years Tony competed in many historic events in a Jaguar Mk1 and an Xk140.

This hobby saw him travel all over Europe and even into Africa for many events and adventures.

Tony was also an avid collector of World War Two military vehicles during the 1970s and 80s, with his house known fondly by neighbours as the Army camp, due to the various vehicles which would always be occupying the driveway.

Tony’s funeral was held on October 11 at St Luke’s Slyne-with-Hest, and was attended by 200 guests wishing to pay their respect.