David Brasnett: West Norfolk farmer turned author and long-serving churchwarden

David Brasnett

David Brasnett - Credit: Submitted

A West Norfolk farmer, David Brasnett, (pictured), who has died aged 91, turned author in his retirement.

Last autumn, he published a book, Tall Stories and Short Tales of an Old Farmer, which raised funds for the Aylsham Care Trust.

He was also the last in a family line of farmers, which could trace its roots back to the middle of the 16th century.

Born at Home Farm, Blackborough End, Middleton, near King's Lynn, on May 4, 1922, he went to King's School Ely. After the outbreak of the second world war, he volunteered for the Royal Air Force and trained as an aircraft fitter because he was not passed fit for flying duties. After qualifying as an aircraft engineer, he was posted to North Africa and Egypt, where he had to retrieve RAF spares ahead of Rommel's rapidly-advancing troops.

In a family memoir, written in 1997, he recalled: 'This was a tricky job and we had to be very careful not to get captured. Next we had to make sand runways for the remains of our airforce to land on in the desert behind El Alamein.'

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When his father, Hugh, was taken seriously ill in 1944, he returned to run the family farm, but was unable to go up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he had been offered a place before the war.

He married Jean Cuthbert, a Scottish farmer's daughter from Ayrshire, in September 1946. He farmed Priory Farm and in 1970 bought Hall Farm, East Winch, which he continued to farm for the rest of his life.

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An active supporter of his local church, he started 'trowel days' at All Saints, East Winch, which helped to maintain and repair the fabric.

He served as a church warden in both Middleton and East Winch for almost 40 years and was also a lay-chairman of the Synod. A founder of the farming co-operative, King's Lynn Farmers, he served on the local drainage board for 25 years. Having joined the National Farmers' Union in 1949, he was a member for more than 60 years.

Together with his wife Jean, he moved to Aylsham in 1997 and became heavily involved in the town's activities, especially the historical society.

Married for almost 67 years, he leaves a widow, Jean, daughters Susie and Mary, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A funeral service will be held at St Faith's Crematorium on Friday, August 30, at 4.15pm. A service of thanksgiving will be held at St Michael and All Angels Church, Aylsham on Saturday, August 31 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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