Robin Cradock

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JAMES Robin Cradock, who channelled his love of agricultural and the countryside into a career as a journalist and broadcaster which spanned more than 40 years, has died suddenly aged 63.

Known to everyone as Robin, he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of farming – especially in the North of England.

He was born in Worlaby, Lincolnshire, the only child of Jim and Minnie Cradock who were very much involved in their farming and church community and from whom he inherited his love of agriculture.

He attended the local primary school, then secondary school at Sturton by Stow followed by college, firstly at Gainsborough and then Lincoln College - now Lincoln University - where he began his journalism studies for the career which was to become so important to him.

In 1966, he joined the reporting staff at the Ripon Gazette before moving to the Ripon office of the Darlington and Stockton Times. From there he became the agricultural editor of a Lincolnshire weekly paper before joining the national publication, the Farmers Guardian.

Mr Cradock also had a strong interest in the church and in the late 1970s he was part of BBC Radio Scotland’s religious broadcasting team based in Edinburgh.

He continued his career in radio at BBC Radio Cleveland, in Middlesbrough, before in 1984, being appointed the Regional Public Relations Officer for the National Farmers Union (NFU) where he worked until the 1990s, based in Darlington.

His was a familiar face on television, and voice on radio, as he was frequently interviewed to put the case for farmers in the north of England.

When he retired from the NFU he continued working as a freelance writer including for the national publication, the Farmers Weekly, and the Scottish national newspapers, The Scotsman and the Herald.

He was a member of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists, also of the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and was a familiar face at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Away from journalism his interests were many and varied. In the 1970s and 1980s he was an active member of the Cleveland Search and Rescue Team. He also had strong literary interests, particularly in history and his local community.

He was a former governor of High Coniscliffe School, near Darlington, and played an active role in St Edwin’s Church, High Coniscliffe where he had been a member of the parochial church council for 15 years.

Mr Cradock also had political interests as a member of the Liberal Democrats in Darlington, standing unsuccessfully for the Borough Council in 1997, and being a keen campaigner for public transport. He was to have been appointed as their press officer in the New Year.

Mr Cradock was a former member of the Marquess of Ripon Lodge of the Freemasons in Darlington.

His wife Helen to whom he was married for 30 years, died in May this year.

Mr Cradock is survived by their two children, Colette and Melissa, and by his mother.