Henry Harvey: Third generation Norfolk dairy farmer

A leading Norfolk dairy farmer, Henry Harvey, who has died aged 87, was a president of the Ayrshire Cattle Society.

He won championships at the Royal Show, Warwickshire, and the Dairy Event, in the 1970s and 1980s with his Ayrshire cattle.

The family's Waxham herd also had a unique double at the Royal Norfolk Show, winning the inter-breed dairy title and then, last year, the supreme beef trophy with a British Blue bull.

Mr Harvey, who was a third generation farmer at Waxham Hall, was passionate about dairy cattle. When the 18-year-old decided to replace the commercial herd in 1942, he bought 40 pedigree heifers from the breed's Ayrshire heartland. They arrived at Stalham station from Scotland and walked to their home, where the family has farmed since the mid 1850s.

Born at Waxham, he went to Bracondale School in Norwich. During the war, he served at night as a part-time fireman, dealing with stack fires and plane crashes alongside his farming duties.

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He exhibited at the Royal Norfolk Show when it was held around the county before the showground at Costessey opened in 1954.

His cattle took the Ayrshire supreme and reserve at the 1980 Royal Show and he was also a six-time champion at the Dairy Show.

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Mr Harvey became president of the Ayrshire Cattle Society in May 1989. The next year, he welcomed delegates to the society's annual conference in Norwich and cut a 'cow' cake marking the 40th anniversary of the Norfolk Ayrshire Breeders' Club.

One of his cows achieved a milestone in the breed's record books as Waxham Miss Mary 44 EX produced 115 tonnes of milk in 11 lactations. She joined a club of just 15 cows in 1990.

He never judged at the Royal Show because the family supported the breed but he judged the Royal Highland Show and Royal Ulster.

Mr Harvey recognised that his high-yielding herds could not survive low milk prices. So 60 years of keeping dairy cows came to an end, with huge regrets, after the 2001 foot-and-mouth epidemic, when the entire herd was bought by a Cumbrian farmer.

He was chairman of Sea Palling parish council for many years and a churchwarden.

He would have been married 60 years this summer and leaves a widow, Mary, daughter Jane and son Henry, and three grandchildren, Ben, Henry and Amelia.

A funeral service will be held at St John's, Waxham, on Wednesday, April 20 at 2pm.

Michael Pollitt

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