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Lifelong farmer Henry Castle, from Culford near Bury St Edmunds, dies aged 86

A farmer who ‘would help anybody’ and was known for organising a charity ploughing match has died aged 86.

Henry Castle, of Culford, who died on July 1, was a farmer all his life and was passionate about vintage tractors.

His coffin, painted with tractors and ploughed fields, will be brought to St Mary’s Church, in Culford, on his own Ferguson tractor trailer, followed by his other four vintage tractors.

Henry Castle in 2017. Picture: Mark Westley
Henry Castle in 2017. Picture: Mark Westley

Isobel, his wife of 46 years, said: “Henry was a very helpful man and loved anything to do with outside. He would help anybody – he used to pull out trees for neighbours and friends and he was the only one who could catch moles. It isn’t easy but he could catch them.

“He was passsionate about his vintage tractors. He would take them to shows and if he was lucky, he would get first prize. He would help anybody who phoned up about vintage tractors.

“Henry just enjoyed growing things and ploughing the land. As long as he was outside, Henry was happy.”

During his working life he managed trial farming plots for ICI in Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk, from 1963 until he retired aged 51.

Some of the trials were secret but they included different varieties of cereal, sugar beet and rapeseed.

Isobel said: “Henry would see how they performed on the land to see if they would go forward for production.”

They moved to Culford 38 years ago, having previously lived in Essex.

For about 15 to 18 years, he ran an annual ploughing match with Don Sapsford near Ingham.

The event raised money for St Nicholas Hospice Care.

Isobel said: “It’s being held this September. Henry was finalising with Don from his dying bed. He couldn’t go before he organised the ploughing match.”

He owned three Massey-Ferguson vintage tractors and two Grey Fergies.

His funeral is on July 20 at 3pm.

Henry is survived by Jane, Clare and Kenneth.