Shire horse tribute at farmer’s funeral

A WELL-KNOWN farmer with a passion for Shire horses will get the send-off he wanted when two of his favourite breed transport him on his final journey.

Thomas Lodge, 89, who farmed for decades as a tenant at Toby Wood Farm, Denby Dale, was well-known throughout the country for his skills at judging these special horses.

Yesterday, his daughter Joan Wood, 58, of Scammonden said it was her father’s wish that two black Shires should carry his coffin from Ainley Top to Huddersfield Crematorium at Fixby on Thursday.

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She said: “He used to like the black ones best and this is what he wanted. We are expecting a lot of people to attend the service.

“I have had people ringing me about it from LancaShire to Wales. The horses travel slowly and we are anticipating that the journey will take about an hour or 20 minutes a mile.

“He had been judging Shire horses for 60 years and used to give the people who owned the famous Tetley Shires quite a bit of advice when it came to ‘turnouts’ – horses and carts presentations.”

Mr Lodge, a father-of-three, who had been a stalwart attender of Penistone Show for many decades, never missing one since he was 10 years old, suffered a fall at his last one in September.

Although he subsequently recovered from an operation and began walking again he died peacefully at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary on Tuesday. His wife Lois, to whom he had been married for 51 years died nine years ago.

He had been a dairy farmer and at one time supplied all of the homes in Denby Dale from the 110 acre farm.

But he left dairy farming in 1963 when his daughters Joan, Anne and Helen were little and turned his attention to beef, sheep and arable.

He retired 22 years ago on October 7, 1989, and went to live near Joan in Scammonden. She said: “He was so well-known all over the country. Wherever I went with him someone would know him. I couldn’t take him anywhere without him bumping into someone who knew him – even once in Market Rasen.”