A retired Dales farmer has died at the age of 86.

Guy Hitchon was born in Gargrave, but spent most of his life at Hawkswick, in Littondale. His family first farmed at Hawkswick Cote, later moving to Redmire Farm in the village itself.

Mr Hitchon was educated at Arncliffe CE Primary School, then went to Ermysted’s Grammar School in Skipton, where he proved successful, both academically and in sport, playing rugby and cricket and setting a school record for throwing the javelin.

He played rugby for Skipton and Wharfedale until he suffered a serious knee injury during a game. He continued to play cricket for Littondale until the 1970s.

After school Mr Hitchon studied agriculture at Leeds University, returning to the family farm after gaining his degree.

In 1954 he married Iona Hall, a member of another Dales farming family.

The couple’s eldest son, Nicholas, was one of the children who featured in the 1964 Granada TV documentary Seven Up! and in the subsequent programmes which followed their subjects’ progress every seven years.

Though most of his energies were devoted to running the farm, Mr Hitchon was able to serve for a short time as a governor of his old school, Ermysted’s.

Mr Hitchon retired from farming in 1998, moving to a cottage next to his former farm in Hawkswick. The following year he was able to make a memorable trip to Australia, where his sister Betty and her family had settled in Tasmania.

In recent years he had suffered from increasing ill-health, though he was determined to live independently for as long as possible. In the last months of his life he was cared for at Threshfield Court Care Centre.

He is survived by his widow, his sons Nicholas, Andrew and Christopher, and his grandson Adam.

A funeral service will be held at St Oswald’s Church, Arncliffe, at 1.15pm on Wednesday.