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G.M.Hunter Ltd.

Tilbrook Grange

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Devon Cattle Breeders Herd Competition 2016


September 18

By jameshunter1, Jan 23 2019 09:29PM

Life up on the farm (by James Hunter)

Why is the Surgery in Hunter’s Way?

This month I break from the monthly report. I am going to look back further. 40 years ago I recall saying good bye to mum & dad on a Monday morning in November as I set off to college near Grantham for the week. Little did I expect to be back in the afternoon to mourn the death of my Father. I was 20 & dad was just 60 years old.

Some things have changed on the farm but the overall job of producing food has not changed. The weather is still our boss but the changes in chemicals, plant breeding and machinery has revolutionised the industry. He was brought up on the family farm near Stevenage. During the war he served in the Royal Army Service Corps and reached the rank of Captain. Father came to the farm in 1947 after the war. He was married the same year and after two girls twins Gavin & I came along. Post war there was a great incentive to produce more food; it was needed to reduce the rationing that had been introduced. When I was a boy there were 20 people working on the farm. Today there are 4. Many more crops were grown compared to today. The only ones still grown then & now are wheat, barley & grass. We no longer grow potatoes, peas, beans, cabbage, turnips, parsnips, swedes, mangolds, lucerne, clover and mustard. Oil seed rape, our only break crop now, was not grown here until 1990.

The beef herd of pedigree Devons was started in 1960 with 18 heifers and 1 bull. This week the total head is just under 250.

As well as being a farmer my father gave a lot of his time the community.

He served on the Nene & Ouse River board and was very involved with the building of Grafham Water in the early 60’s.

He was also vice president of the Country Land Owners Association for many years looking after the interests of farmers & landowners nationally.

He was on the St Neots Rural District council for many years until it became Huntingdon District Council in 1974. He was then the District Councillor for the Local area until his death in 1978.

His great friend Dr John Kilby from the Kimbolton High Street surgery was with him when he had a fatal heart attack.

Kimbolton and all shops & business came to a standstill for his funeral. St Andrews church was packed full & the collection enabled an oak flower pedestal to be made & dedicated in memory of him. It is still in St Andrews to the left of the Alter with an inscription on it.

A new road was built in Newtown and was named, Hunter’s Way, in memory of him for all that he did during his life for the community.

He served on Catworth parish council & was chairman for many years. Catworth Gap is also named after him. The Parish council planted an Oak tree in memory of him. It is on the parish boundary between Catworth & Tilbrook to the east of the B660.

Many in the village knew Mum; she was a widow for 33 years and was a well respected lady who lived in Kimbolton Castle Gardens. She moved there and retired from Tilbrook Grange when I got married.

40 years on from his death his name carries on and now you know why it is called Hunter’s way.

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