FARMER FOCUS: Grieving over loss of Jack Benson

The season seems to be moving on so quickly now. Lambs are all weaned and the oats and barley are turning slowly and looking good, despite having a hammering by the rain this week.

All the silage and hay is now safely stacked in the buildings ready for the winter months and our Christmas turkey poults have arrived and are growing quickly. I’m already finding my thoughts moving on to tupping time. Where does the time go?

I will be honest and say that I’m finding this month’s article very difficult to write. Although I’m now happily settled in the stunning Monmouthshire countryside, I originally hail from a small farming community on the Fylde coast in Lancashire, from a village that is home to Great Eccleston Agricultural Show and the annual world championship tractor pulling competitions. It is also home to a local legend, who happens to be my Dad, Jack Benson.

As I write this, messages of condolences are flooding in as a community grieves for a true countryman, writer and rhymer whose sheer love and understanding of the countryside underlined everything he wrote. Many a good tale told over a pint in the pub has been replicated in his articles, songs and books. Dad always had a notebook and pen in his pocket and charmed everybody with his quick wit and his understanding of country characters and rural life.

He was a farming champion, marching proudly in London in 2002 and he raised many thousands of pounds over the years for a wide range of charities. Most of all he made us laugh and I’m sure there are farmers in the Fylde reading this who will remember him with a smile and each have their own stories about my Dad.

Time is indeed very precious and shouldn’t be wasted. Dad didn’t waste any and has left behind an amazing legacy in his writings, songs, recordings and most of all in the memories of all the people he met and inspired. Not least of all his family.

Kate Beavan farms 200ha alongside her husband Jim on one of two family farms near Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. The main enterprises comprise 900 breeding ewes and 50 suckler cows. Meat is sold direct to the family’s traditional butchers shop. Kate and Jim hosted the first series of Lambing Live in 2010

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