One of the key organisers of the Great Yorkshire Show, Alan Martindale, has died at the age of 78.

York-born Mr Martindale was secretary of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, overseeing the showground and the finances of the society and the huge expansion of the show from the 1950s to 1990s.

Speaking in tribute to the grandfather-of-three, his daughter, Helen Brennan, said: “Alan was devoted to his wife and children. He will be remembered by all as a true gentleman, full of fun, loved and respected by all who knew him.”

Born in Brownlow Street in The Groves, his mother, Dorothy, died when he was 11 and Mr Martindale’s father, Dick, was remarried to Alice in 1949, adopting her sons Keith and Ken. When he was 18, the couple had twins, Janet and Wendy.

Mr Martindale met his wife Carole at a 21st birthday party for her friend, Eileen Carter when he was invited to bolster the number of men at the party.

The couple married in 1963 and went on to have three children; Louise, Matthew and Helen. Mr and Mrs Martindale enjoyed nearly 49 years of marriage before Carole died in December 2011.

After joining the Yorkshire Agricultural Society as an office junior in 1951, Mr Martindale helped organise the Queen’s visit to the show in 1977 and saw the number of entries and stands at the show more than double.

He was also well known in York as a sportsman with York Hockey Club and Heworth Cricket Club.

Mr Martindale is survived by his brother Ken, sister Janet, his three children, and three grandchildren.

He spent Christmas with his son Matt in Cornwall, meeting his newborn grandchild, William, before he died on Boxing Day. His funeral was held at York Crematorium on January 3.