I'm sure Tom was grateful to find some one to take on the business - little could he have known the positive impact on the Dales of the people who bought the business.
The Ropemakers was bought by Peter and Ruth Annison who were previously college lecturers. This was a brave move in many ways and local newspapers talked of the "drop-out teachers" moving to Wensleydale. They had no experience of running a business and had never made rope. Three years earlier Peter had been diagnosed with cancer and given just three months to live. He was one of the first patients to undergo chemotherapy, and lived until he was 78. Ruth said she felt the change of scenery, a less stressful lifestyle and his attitude helped.
Before he retired, Tom Outhwaite spent four months showing them the ropes (!). They diversified into different types of rope and braid and the business flourished, employing over 20 people. Visitors love to visit the Ropemakers and see how the twist is put into the rope. The business attracted new people into the area including Heather whose husband works there, and who was inspired to set up her new business Rope and Glory.
The Northern Echo once referred to Ruth as "one of those wonderful, endlessly enthusiastic, community conscious souls who seems to have a hand in everything". This is certainly true. Ruth is diminutive in size but her enthusiasm for the Yorkshire Dales and determination to enhance Dales communities is incredibly powerful. Ruth set up and chaired Settle-Carlisle Railway business group and has been instrumental in rescuing and developing the Wensleydale Railway. In the years since 1975 I wonder just how many people have benefitted through increased job opportunities, tourism and improved transport thanks to Ruth and Peter's decision to move to the Yorkshire Dales?