Tributes to devoted farmer

Neville King of whepstead died in accident
Neville King of whepstead died in accident

TRIBUTES have been paid to a 79-year-old farmer and family man who died after his car crashed into a tree.

Neville King devoted his working life to Ruffins Farm, in Whepstead, and trained point-to-point race horses for 45 years.

He died on Friday afternoon when his Daihatsu Terios left the B1063 and crashed into a tree near Ashley.

His daughter Carolyn Stennett said: “Work and race horses were his life – he never had a holiday and never would have wanted to retire. He was a very caring, loyal and loving family man.”

Mr King was born at Hill Farm, in Chevington, and started farming aged 22. He took over Ruffins Farm from his father Bert in 1971 and later ran the business with his son Andy.

The great-grandfather was a hunting enthusiast and regularly attended the Suffolk and Thurlow Hunts. He trained his own and other people’s point to pointers – winning a number of trophies.

Mrs Stennett, of Thelnetham, said: “Point to pointing kept him involved with people and he never missed a point to point ever. He was always the first there and everybody used to say ‘did you come the night before?’. When he lost his leg to diabetes 20-years-ago he had to give up riding horses but even with one leg he still drove the combine tractor.

“He was very proud of his daughter Lucy (Gibbon), who was national point to point champion for two years in 1980 and 1981.”

Andy King added: “He always wanted to be outside, farming. He could do anything straight as a die and could work as well as anybody. He enjoyed his life.”

As well as his three children, Mr King leaves his wife of 57 years Evelyn, five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at St Petronilla Church, Whepstead, on Tuesday at 2.30pm.