THE death of a renowned Yorkshire Dales landlord signals the end of an era, friends say.

Ralph Daykin, who with wife Pat ran the Victoria Arms, in Worton, near Askrigg, since 1956, is believed to have been one of Britain’s longest serving licensees.

The pub is well-known for being virtually unchanged for decades, with the bar also doubling as the owners’ front room.

Avril Douglas, a long-standing friend and former landlady herself, said Mr Daykin and the pub were known “far and wide”.

“There will never be anyone again like Ralph – it’s the end of an era.

“He was the longest standing landlord in the Dales and probably for miles around.”

Mr Daykin, who died on September 23 aged 88, was president and a founder member of the North Riding Dales Licensed Victuallers' Association (LVA) which since 1987 has organised a charity bike ride from Leyburn to Hawes, raising more than £260,000.

Nick Harrington, landlord of the Cover Bridge Inn, near East Witton, and LVA branch vice-president, described Mr Daykin as a “wonderful Dales character” who loved hunting, shooting and fishing, and was a farmer as well as a landlord.

He said the Daykins, who had two sons Charles and Neil, ran the pub in a laid back manner with orphan lambs keeping warm by the fire taking precedence over customers.

“Expectations are much higher than they used to be thanks to things like Trip Advisor, but if you went to the Victoria Arms you didn’t expect anything more – that’s how it was and that’s how it always would be.”

Mr Harrington recalled Mr Daykin telling members of the LVA when the smoking ban came into force that he had already put aside £2,000 to cover any fine he received if he was caught breaking the ban.

“He said it wasn’t going to stop him smoking,” said Mr Harrington.

Mr Daykin said last year while sitting in the same chair by the fire that he had relaxed in for more than 50 years: "Life isn't like it was, you can't smoke, and there should be a room or bar for those that want to smoke.

"Round here there used to be 50 or so farmers and 40 farm workers - now there are five farmers and no workers.”

Mr Daykin was born in Bainbridge. He had a twin brother, Edgar, who died last year.

His funeral will be held at St Oswald’s Church, Askrigg, on Thursday, October 3, at 1pm.