Tractor run tribute held in memory of popular farmer

A tractor run has been held in memory of a hugely popular Kent farmer who died following a farm sprayer accident.

Alan Dimbleby, 62, from Pratt’s Bottom, died after a freak accident while he was spraying a cover crop in a field near Westerham in July.

Row of tractors in field

The father-of-three and grandfather of eight suffered a fractured neck and deep laceration to his head after he was ejected from the cab of a Bateman sprayer, which had been travelling down a steep hill.

See also: Tributes to ‘kind-hearted’ farmer killed in sprayer tragedy

A convoy of 10 tractors took part in the “trundle” on Wednesday, 19 August to remember the life of Mr Dimbleby, a passionate farmer and much-loved husband, dad and granddad.

Mr Dimbleby’s final journey home was led by his son Thomas and Peter Duke from Francis Chappell funeral directors in Orpington. The tractor convoy went around local villages in the east of the county before reaching Charmwood Farm, Pratt’s Bottom, where Mr Dimbleby mainly worked.

More than 300 mourners crowded into the crematorium for the funeral service, which included tributes from Mr Dimbleby’s three children, Marc, 36, and twins Thomas and Laura, 30.

Later, friends and family crammed into Pratt’s Bottom Village Hall for a service of remembrance.

Alan-Dimbleby cake

Tractor-themed cake made by Miss Emily Fenton in memory of Alan Dimbleby.

Thomas, who organised the tractor run and led it driving a New Holland T6 tractor kindly loaned for the day from The Lettuce Company, said his father was a “legend”, a “wonderful husband, dad and grandfather” and a “gentle giant”.

“There wasn’t anyone he wouldn’t help. He really enjoyed getting involved in the community in Pratt’s Bottom,” he added.

“He helped out every year at the village fete. He helped to organise farm visits from local schools and took part in Open Farm Sunday.

“No matter how bad things got, my dad held his head up high, put his farmer face on and kept going.

“Now he’s gone, the village and the farming community is a sadder place for it.”

The run has helped to raise hundreds of pounds for two charities – the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (Rabi) and the Marie Curie cancer charity.

Now Thomas plans to organise an annual tractor run in memory of his father to raise more money for charity. “We are going to do a tractor run every year to remember Dad,” he said.

The Dimbleby family.

The Dimbleby family.

In her tribute, Mr Dimbleby’s wife Gill said: “The sun shone last Wednesday, but it was raining in my heart because we were saying ‘au revoir’ to a truly wonderful man.

“My family and I will never be able to thank everyone enough for all their kindness and the overwhelming waves of love and affection we have experienced over the past month.

“I have now come to realise just how many lives Alan had actually touched and been part of.

“There were about 300 people who came along, many of them were from the farming fraternity. I would like to thank them for taking time out of their busy schedules to join us.

“It was very sunny, so I’m sure they should really have been working. In fact, I could almost hear Alan saying: ‘Get back in that combine! – it’ll probably rain tomorrow.’”

Gill added: “We all said our very fond farewell to one of the very best of men – a loving friend, a loving grandfather, loving father, the very best husband I could have ever wished for, my soulmate, Alan George Dimbleby.

“It was exactly one month ago to this very minute that we stood in that hospital room and said goodbye to Alan. Who will make us laugh now?”

Mr Dimbleby had more than 40 years’ experience working as a farmer. He worked as a contract sprayer operator across Kent.

He also worked for Lantra, training people how to drive forklift trucks and telehandlers, and at NSF International on crop assurance.

Mr Dimbleby was born at Park Royal, London, and brought up in Harlesden NW10. But he fell in love with farming and studied at the Berkshire College of Agriculture.

The Health and Safety Executive is investigating the events surrounding Mr Dimbleby’s death.