Prominent farmer and loyal community stalwart dies aged 79

PUBLISHED: 14:46 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 17:20 12 February 2020

Prominent Bacton farmer and community stalwart John Storey has died at the age of 79. He is pictured (right) with his agronomist David Youngs assessing a seed crop of potatoes. Picture: Storey family

Prominent Bacton farmer and community stalwart John Storey has died at the age of 79. He is pictured (right) with his agronomist David Youngs assessing a seed crop of potatoes. Picture: Storey family

Storey family

Tributes have been paid to a north Norfolk farmer described as a generous, devoted family man who was a loyal servant to both his village and the land he farmed.

John James Storey, whose family farming business is based in Bacton, died suddenly after a short illness at home aged 79.

He was well known for his love of the countryside, visiting farm auctions and especially for his passion for growing certified Desiree seed potatoes. At one point he was the largest grower in north Norfolk and a prominent member of the now-disbanded Anglian Produce Group.

His family said Mr Storey was never one to shout about his achievements - but farmers from far and wide made the pilgrimage to Bacton to collect his renowned seed.

The Storey family took on the tenancy of Forster Farm (now Storeys Farm) in the late 1930s from the Kimberley Estate. Mr Storey was born in 1940 and by his late teens he was cutting his teeth at Witton Hall near North Walsham for Robert Alston.

However, he soon realised that he could do more at home on the family farm, so he became equal partner with his mother. This partnership continued until the mid-1960s when he met and married his wife Veronica.

"Our late grandmother Alice Storey had a baptism of fire following the sudden death of her husband James in the summer of 1943," said Mr Storey's daughter, Denise. "She was left to run the farm following his death. There was no will so the farm was left to Nanny Storey and dad even though he was only two years old."

When not busy finishing bullocks in the early years, breeding pigs in the yards at home, tending to his chickens for egg sales and drilling wheat, he was a devoted family man.

Mr Storey ran the business with his eldest son James, who will now continue the Storeys Farm legacy. "He who could turn his hand to anything that made him most happy, he completely renovated the farmhouse which included laying a mains water supply from the Bacton to North Walsham road almost 800m away up to the farm and even the odd carpentry project didn't go amiss," said James.

Mr Storey was an active member of his local community, where he became chairman of Bacton and Edingthorpe Parish Council in 1986. He was asked to become a committee member of Bacton Playing Field Trust and revived the Bacton Cricket Club in the 1970s. He could also be spotted in the stands of Carrow Road, holding a Norwich City season ticket for many years, and had a love of bowls and helping to raise the funds for the village fete.

His son Jonathon said: "Dad would be on the phone to the gas terminal, local shops and even RAF Coltishall to secure prizes and marquees for the village events."

But Mr Storey's family said his greatest love was farming, adding: "Be it eating fish and chips in the corn fields on long summer evenings, baling straw whilst his children ride on the bale sledge or harvesting his prize crop of seed potatoes, he will be sadly missed".

Mr Storey leaves three children, James, Denise and Jonathon, and five grandchildren. The funeral will take place at 11am on Monday February 24 at the Church of St Andrew in Bacton.

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