News from the Field - December 2017
As many of you will know, the last month has been a sad one for my family, as we have said goodbye to my father who passed away on Sunday 5th November.
Born near Harrogate, David was actually christened Charles David Hodgson (as my grandfather got the names the wrong way round when he registered the birth!) However, he continued to be known to everyone as David, beginning his working life as a farm labourer. He moved up the ranks on various farms, before taking on the position of Farm Manager at Methley Estate when I was ten years old, a position that he held for the next 35 years until his retirement ten years ago. Back then, the estate had a mixture of livestock and arable operations, including a dairy herd, which my father built up from 26 cows to around 140 at its peak. Over his working life, he probably witnessed the greatest advances in farming mechanisation in modern history. At the start of his career, farms were still using heavy horses to haul milk churns to the end of the lane for collection and at harvest time it would be commonplace to have to carry 16 stone railway sacks of corn to the granary. Nowadays we are now using 200hp high tech tractors to take the strain… rest assured he often reminded me how easy I have it nowadays.
Aside from farming, where he really was an ambassador for the estate, my father took an interest in the Methley Cricket Club, and enjoyed watching his grandsons playing for the team. Much to our surprise, (being as my mum said he couldn’t paint a barn door without making a mess) he also took up art in later years, creating some lovely watercolours of the local countryside which will serve as a lovely reminder of him.
My father battled with muscular dystrophy from the age of 37, a very frustrating condition that became really debilitating in his last few years. His family was the driver that kept him going through the pain and we are lucky to have so many memories of such a kind and amazing man. As well as being besotted with my mother, Val, who he married 55 years ago, he was also a devoted father to me and my sister Karen, mentoring me through my working life, taking a special interest when I moved back and took over from him as Farm Manager ten years ago. He was delighted that all of his family lived so locally and was a special grandfather to our twins and Karen’s boys as well as a great-grandfather to Karen’s grandchildren. He was a very likeable man and I am sure he will be in many people’s thoughts over the coming months.
Wishing you all a very peaceful Christmas.