Suffolk farm worker clocks up 71 years

A SUFFOLK farm-worker is officially the longest serving in the country after more than 70 years dedicated service on the same farm.Stanley Peter Branton MBE, known to friends as Peter, has clocked up an impressive 71 years at Hoo House Farm in Hoo.

A SUFFOLK farm-worker is officially the longest serving in the country after more than 70 years dedicated service on the same farm.

Stanley Peter Branton MBE, known to friends as Peter, has clocked up an impressive 71 years at Hoo House Farm in Hoo.

He has known four new owners and has been sold with the farm each time.

On Monday Mr Branton joined 27 other dedicated farm workers at the Royal Show to pick up a long service award from the Royal Agricultural Society of England.


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But Mr Branton's endurance outshone the others, with the next longest serving worker clocking up only 60 years.

Mr Branton, 85, of Hoo, said: "I felt very proud. I went up there with my son Tony and we had a lovely day.

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"A lot of people couldn't believe how long I've been working.

"My son said when I received my award the applause from the crowd almost doubled."

Mr Branton began working full-time on the farm in 1933, aged 14, but his involvement with it stems back even further.

He said: "I started going over there when I was only 11. My father worked over there and I used to go over there every Saturday and feed the chickens and clean the chicken huts out.

"When I was 15 my father got very ill and the governor asked me if I thought I could drive my dad's tractor. So, I became one of four tractor drivers on the farm from then on."

Mr Branton, who lives in a bungalow half a mile away from the farm, officially retired when he was 65 but for the last 20 years has been working as a gamekeeper.

He said: "The governor said to me 'what am I going to find you to do? I can't see you leaving for good,' and they gave me the game-keeping job, which I've been doing ever since.

"I still go over there most days and have done a lot of work rearing pheasants."

He was nominated for the award by his employer Andrew Fane.

During his time at the farm Mr Branton has seen many changes: "When my dad worked there and when I first started there it was known as Poplar Farm. Hoo House itself was not built until 1937.

"In the years I've been there I've had four employers and been sold with the farm each time."

Despite having just turned 85, Mr Branton says he has no plans to hang up his wellies just yet: "I love what I'm doing now and I'm quite happy. I've never wanted to do anything else.

"I'm a member of a farm machinery club and have been to shows and conferences in Germany, Holland and the rest of Europe, but I've always been glad to get home."

n. Do you know anyone who has kept working longer than Mr Branton? Write to us at Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or visit the Evening Star forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk.

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