Retired farmer shares memories of learning to read from FW

Retired farmer David Cannon, 85, from Upton St Leonards, Gloucestershire, has been a lifelong reader of Farmers Weekly, and says that he and his family have never missed an issue in its near 90 years of publication.

David recounts that his father bought the first issue of Farmers Weekly in 1934 – with the well-kept issues from the first few years of publication remaining in David’s attic until recently, when he sent the copies to the Farmers Weekly archive.

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He says that his grandmother used the magazines to teach him to read, so that by the time he went to school, he was already a proficient reader.

“I’ve been reading it since 1940 – as soon as I could start reading,” David explains.

“My father bought the Farmers Weekly when it started in 1934. I actually learnt to read with my grandmother, during the war time, and she taught me to read from the Farmers Weekly.

“By the time I went to school I was quite good at reading. When they would come each week, she would show me the pictures, and teach me the words, and that led to me reading the magazine every week from then on.”

Opinion columnists

David says that a particular highlight over the years has been reading the stories of the Opinion columnists.

“One of my favourite contributors was AG Street,” he says.  “He was a farmer down in Wiltshire.”

More recently, he has enjoyed the columns written by Hampshire farmer Charlie Flindt. “I love reading his pieces, they’re really very good. I think he’s somebody I’d like to meet.”

David recounts that in the 1960s, a Farmers Weekly reporter featured him and his brother after spotting them at a sale, where they had purchased Old Gloucester cattle and new equipment for their dairy parlour.

They were featured as young farmers in a 1966 issue.

In 1991, David also won a Farmers Weekly competition, scooping first prize – a Peugeot pick-up – which he and his wife collected at the Smithfield Show in London.

Now, David collects his copy of the magazine from his local post office every Friday, which he says is an important part of supporting his local community and local businesses. 

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