Life

By James Somper

 

An old farmer has been given a final send off – and taken to his funeral on the back of a tractor from the farm he had lived on his whole life.

Donald Young, 94, died on September 16 after a long battle with dementia.

His three children were determined to give their Dad a proper farmer’s funeral so decided that his last journey should be on the back a trailer towed by a tractor – surrounded by a wreath of English country vegetables.

Donald’s coffin made its way from the farm in Isfield, East Sussex – where his family have worked for over 100 years – to his local village church on October 9.

His daughter, Mandy Parks, 62, said that her Dad would have loved his send off.

She said: “It seemed the right and proper thing to do.

“He was a country man through and through and loved the land, flowers and vegetables particularly.

“I think he  would have loved it, he would have said it was perfect.”

Donald’s family have worked on the farm ever since his father took over the site in the 1890s.

The 94-year-old spent his whole life working on the farm and met his wife Maureen during the Second World War when she was living in the village while serving in the Women’s Land Army.

During the war Donald served in Normandy, Egypt and Burma in the Royal Hampshire Regiment before returning to England to live with Maureen on the farm.

Donald, who retired in the early 2000s even spent his final years living on a nearby cottage with his wife Maureen who died in March at the age of 89.

His coffin was taken from the farm on the short 15 minute journey on the back of a trailer and was towed by a tractor a kind neighbour had lent.

In a nod to a lifetime spent farming vegetables, his children arranged a special wreath of country vegetables including chard, carrots and apples.

Mandy said: “The farm has been associated with our family for over 100 years.

“We’ve always lived close to the farm or on it and as kids we always lived off the land.

“Dad was a proud man which did make it a bit tricky when he got dementia.

“We came up with the idea for the trailer when we were sitting down arranging the funeral. We thought he would like it.

“We asked the undertaker whether or not we could send dad off on his trailer and they didn’t have any objections at all.

“He would have loved it and I think he would have liked to have come along himself!”