In pictures: 100-year-old still farming in North Wales

A North Wales farmer who is still involved in the family business has celebrated his 100th birthday.

Last week, John Wrench marked the milestone with a quiet family celebration at home after the party they had planned was cancelled due to the coronavirus.

The farmer still lives independently, near to Beeches Farm on the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire, North Wales, which he ran between 1966 and 1989, producing beef, lamb and cereals.

See also: Stockman retires after 54 years on same Herefordshire farm

Stepping aside for his son Stephen, Mr Wrench carried on working on the farm into his 90s.

The farmer still actively advises his grandson John, who, sharing the tenancy with Stephen, is putting the farm into organic conversion and is building up a dairy herd.

John Wrench with sheep and sheepdog

© Anne Wrench

Mr Wrench, married to his wife Vera of 75 years, told Farmers Weekly: “I’ve got a wonderful family that have put up with my silly ideas, some which were right and some which were wrong.

“I feel I’m a very fortunate old man. I still love going around the farm and having a look.”

His farming journey started in Penyffordd, when he took over Blackbrook dairy farm in 1941 at the age of 20, after his father died.

Grass success

Mr Wrench was at the forefront of silage making for many years.

He experimented with vacuum silage using plastic sheets, which soon became the norm all over the country.

John Wrench looking at silage

© Anne Wrench

In 1973, he won the All Wales Grassland Competition, followed by the British Grassland Society Summer Meeting, which was held at Beeches Farm in 1975.

Further success followed with wins in the All Wales Silage Competition in 1978 and 1979.

In 1983, Mr Wrench was awarded an MBE for services to agriculture.

The farmer loved his prize-winning Border Leicester sheep, winning regularly at the Royal Welsh Show and doing his own judging across the country.

John Wrench at RWS with sheep in 1962

© Anne Wrench

In the early 1970s, he began pre-lambing shearing – first with the spring lambers and later with the winter stock.

Stephen paid tribute to the hard work his father had put in over his distinguished career.

John Wrench with horse in field in 1930s

© Anne Wrench

“Farming has been his life, and he has always been very forward looking.

“He still loves getting out and giving us advice.”

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