Philip Almey: Respected Norfolk beef producer

A fifth-generation Norfolk farmer and countryman, Philip Almey, has died peacefully at home, aged 75.

Respected as a beef producer, he took great pride in his farming and was a loyal supporter of Norwich Cattle Market over many years.

He supported the livestock auction system as a means of getting a better return from the market for producers. And when unrealistic rules on recording cattle ear tags were proposed by Whitehall officials, he enlisted his cousin's support to make the farmers' case one Saturday morning in 1997.

The then agriculture minister, Gillian, now Lady Shephard, watched market staff at Norwich struggle to read and then write down the tag numbers of some lively cattle. When, almost on cue, it started raining, Mr Almey's broad grin showed the real headaches faced by farmers working with the elements and it helped the minister explain the practical problem to her officials.

While he enjoyed his farming, he was also a noted breeder of Suffolk Punch horses for many years. He loved horses and until the traffic on the roads around his Antingham home became too busy, he would often drive a horse and carriage.

He was quietly pleased, if not surprised, when what some would describe as 'a good old Norfolk boy' was featured by the National Farmers' Union in its centenary year in 2008 as an example of the leader of a long-established family farm.

And he enjoyed taking part in the Holt & District Farmers' Club's annual ploughing match and, much to his delight, won the open prize for horse drawing in 2002. He retained his title a year later.

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He knew every square inch of his farm, which prospered over the years under his stewardship and he also expanded the family's haulage business.

He leaves a widow, Marion, sons Jack, Brian and William, and grandchildren Joe, George, Sam and Laurence.

A funeral service will be held at St Mary's Church, Antingham, today at 12 noon.

Michael Pollitt