Tributes to community stalwart Brian Curnoe

Brian Curnoe.
Brian Curnoe.

The funeral was held on Wednesday (Nov 16) of Brian Curnoe, Market Harborough businessman and stalwart of a huge number of town organisations, from the sporting to the political, and from business to charity.

Mr Curnoe was 78. He leaves his wife Rose, three daughters - Caroline, Stephanie and Johanna - and four grandchildren - Isabella, Camille, Charlie and Max.

His close friend Phil Spittle, who gave a tribute at yesterday’s service, said Mr Curnoe was “a true gentleman, with a mischievous sense of humour. And if he wasn’t busy he was bored”.

Another good friend, John Gilding, who read a lesson at the service, said: “Brian was most generous in every aspect of his life. He was generous to a ‘T’ with his time and ability.”

Born in 1938 in Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, Mr Curnoe lived in Market Harborough for 54 years, and worked in the town for 56 years.

In 1960 he launched the coach operator N and S Coaches, which operated throughout the 60s, 70s and early 80s from a depot in Springfield Street, where Waitrose is today.

He eventually sold the business to Midland Fox.

He also owned the N and S Travel Bureaux in Northampton Road, Market Harborough, and in Oadby, which closed about 10 years ago.

There was also a Curnoe-owned launderette and dry cleaners in Western Avenue, Market Harborough.

But Mr Curnoe was not a dry businessman - he was an engaging character who enthusiastically involved himself in many aspects of town life.

You would always know when Mr Curnoe attended your event, because his car registration never changed - TUT 11H, which gave him his nickname “Tutty”.

He was a keen member of Harborough Chamber of Trade, organising a big trade exhibition in the town in the early 1970s called Harborough Expo’.

He was also a leading light in the Late Night Shopping team.

He was a past chairman and president of the Harborough Round Table, and a past chairman of the 41 Club, for ex-Round Table members.

He is also a past Market Harborough Carnival chairman, once bringing a genuine 1970s celebrity to the town - the Radio One DJ and presenter of children’s TV show Crackerjack, Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart.

Mr Curnoe was treasurer for the local Conservative Club for many years, conscientiously going in to make sure the books were straight just days before he died.

He has a long-service medal from the Conservative Association.

He was a keen Freemason, initiated into the Gateway Lodge in London Road, Leicester in 1969.

He eventually became the Lodge’s senior officer or Worshipful Master.

He joined Market Harborough Golf Club in the mid-1980s, played regularly, and was made club captain for 1988.

He became club president in 2014, a post he still held at the time of his death.

He was an avid Leicester City fan, and a longstanding season ticket holder who shared the joy of thousands of fans when the club won the Premiership for the first time ever last season.

He was also a member and keen supporter of the town’s Historical Society.

A service of celebration for the life of Mr Curnoe was held at Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Market Harborough on Wednesday, November 16.

After the service there were refreshments at Market Harborough Golf Club.

Donations in memory of Mr Curnoe were for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Donations can still be made online at or forwarded to the Funeral Directors at ‘The Chestnuts’, 15 Kettering Road, Market Harborough, Leicestershire, LE16 8AN.