DAVID Stead, a retired farmer who once won acclaim from across the country after winning a court battle over claims that his cockerels disturbed the peace, has died aged 83.
It was in 1993 that two neighbours of Mr Stead, who farmed at Netherton, near Wakefield for more than 40 years, complained to Wakefield Council about the noise of his cockerels. Although he moved their shed and soundproofed it, the council took him to court under the Noise Abatement Act where he won his case, leaving the council facing costs of £20,000.
His success and its subsequent publicity led to many letters of support from across the country, often addressed only to “Cockerel Man, Wakefield”.
David Henry Stead was born in Heckmondwike, the only son and the youngest of three children of the local grocer Austin Stead and his wife Ivy. He was educated at the local primary school and then in Manchester and on leaving went straight into farming. As a small boy he was able to identify different crops and always knew he wanted to farm.
At first he worked for a local farmer but he wanted his own farm so, being a very determined man, in order to get enough money he worked as a miner at a local pit for six years. For the last 18 months of that period, having bought the 350-acre Netherton farm, he would do his shift down the pit then go home and work on his mixed arable and beef cattle farm.
When he retired at 66 he sold the land for development, but insisted that all the homes built there should be in stone and in keeping with the rest of the village.
Away from the farm, he had a keen interest in auctions where he would buy antiques, and cars.
In retirement he travelled all over the world until about three years ago.
Mr Stead was twice married, being divorced from his first wife by whom he had three daughters and a son all of whom survive him, as well as his four grandchildren and his second wife, Mona.
A funeral service will be held at Netherton Parish Church next Thursday (September 19) at 1.45pm.