Kelbrook stockman John Wilson dies, aged 91

Craven Herald: John Wilson John Wilson

A popular and prominent member of the West Craven farming community has died, aged 91.

Stockman John Wilson, of Brook Farm, Kelbrook, was a familiar face showing newly calved dairy cows at Skipton, Gisburn and Otley auction marts.

He was born in Bracewell in 1922 to a farming family and moved to Kelbrook when he was two years old, growing up at Brook Farm with his sisters Gladys and Margaret.

He attended Kelbrook Primary School and then Alder Hill School in Earby, and some of his mischievous schoolboy antics were featured under the alias Joe Wilton in the local book Sithee on t’Brig, written by his best friend Edgar Wormwell in the 1990s.

After leaving school at 14, he worked full-time on the family farm until the Second World War, when he supervised Italian prisoners of war labouring at Dodgson’s farm at Bank Newton.

He returned to Brook Farm and in 1958 at a dance at Clifford Hall in Skipton, he met his future wife Elsie Watson, who worked as an office clerk at Bristol Tractors in Sough.

They married two years later at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Earby, and went on to have three children.

Mr Wilson took over the reins at Brook Farm after his father Harry started to take a back seat in the late 1960s.

A familiar and friendly face in the village, he will be remembered by locals for his catchphrase: “If it’s raining at seven it’ll be dry by 11.”

The Craven farming community have described him as a dapper, hardworking and honest gentleman who epitomised the best of farming from a different era, his stock being sound, quiet and always improving – capturing the character of the man himself.

He continued to work, with the help of his children, into his late 80s when he began to suffer from dementia.

He died peacefully on December 25 at Riverside Nursing Home in Sawley and a funeral service was held at St Mary’s Church, Kelbrook, followed by cremation at Waltonwrays, Skipton.

He leaves his wife, Elsie, children Elizabeth, Jackie and Richard, grandchildren Christopher, Amy, Nicholas, Henry, Eleanor, Charlotte and Jack, and great-grandson John.

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