Edward Hart

EDWARD Hart, writer of the farming diary Year Round, which has appeared in the Yorkshire Post for more than 45 years, has died, aged 86.

Mr Hart grew up at Strensall, North Yorkshire, grandson of a farmer, left school at 17 and went to work on a dairy farm at Harrogate.

Eight years and several farms later, he put down 800 on 154 acres selling for 3,000 at Bilsdale. He ran sheep and cattle there for 12 years. But meanwhile, he had discovered another vocation – writing. He became a regular contributor to the Yorkshire Post and in 1965 launched Year Round –the rotating diaries of a set of real-life farmers. From then until he suffered a stroke on January 13, Mr Hart would call one of his "stable" of farmers every week and phone in his report – which in recent years had its home in the Saturday supplement Country Week. He also produced more than 30 books on rural topics.

He was honoured by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society, last year, after the 45th anniversary of the first column, for long service to agriculture.

He was married and divorced twice and had two children by his first marriage, to the late Eileen Grime. Their daughter, Sally Hulley, lives at Hawes and has two sons, including one, Kevin, in sheep farming in Wensleydale.

Through him, Edward Hart was a great-grandfather of one and looking forward to another. His son, Matthew, an oilfield electrician, lives in Aberdeenshire. Edward's second ex-wife, Audrey, was a dog trainer who worked with the BBC's Blue Peter programme.

In recent years, he had lived near Ludlow, Shropshire, where he ran a books business with his friend, Claudia Steele.

Mr Hart would have wanted tribute paid to the farmers who fed Year Round. The longest-serving contributor was Dick Addison of "Friar's Hagg" – in reality West Stoney Keld Farm in the North Pennines at Bowes, near Barnard Castle, who died last summer, aged 88. Another lost veteran of the column was Philip Ward of Sutton-on-Forest, who reported from "Chestnut Farm". Most recently, the team has been Paul Stephens of West Heslerton, near Malton, who succeeded his father, Des, as the reporter from "High Wolds Farm"; Colin Donald, who took over the contributor's role from his father, Colin, at Mount Pleasant Farm, Northallerton ("White Smocks"); Geoff Midgley of Dean House Farm, Luddenden, near Halifax ("Mill Farm"); John Barker of Moors Farm, Swinefleet, near Goole ("Low Fields Farm"), who succeeded his father, Alan; and, most recently, Clive Owen of Far Ings Farm, Ravenseat, west of Keld in the high north west of Yorkshire ("Far Ings").