Fenland farmer, former NFU branch chairman and parish councillor dies aged 83

FORMER Fenland farmers’ leader John Newling has died peacefully at home aged 83.

His family has farmed at Tydd for more than a century and he became chairman of Cambridgeshire branch of the National Farmers’ Union in 1985.

Born John Michael Newling at the family’s farm at nearby Gorefield in 1928, he went to Kimbolton School. In 1945, he studied agriculture at the Moulton Farm Institute, near Northampton.

When he returned after a year’s study, it was a testing time for the agricultural industry as the most severe winter for generations was followed by widespread flooding across large parts of Fenland.

The family’s arable farm at Silverwood had a beef enterprise finishing yarded Hereford cattle, which were sold at Wisbech Market.


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For many years, he was also chairman of the West Side Marshes Internal drainage board, which covered about 2,000 acres.

A former chairman of Wisbech NFU, he was a member of the executive of the former Isle of Ely branch before its amalgamation with Cambridgeshire, Ramsey and Peterborough branches in 1975.

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He also served on the Isle’s executive of the Country Landowners’ Association for many years and was a member of the advisory team on the feasibility of the Wash Barrage scheme.

As his farm was in the parish of Newton, he served as chairman of the parish council for many years.

A keen shot, he developed a wild bird shoot in the early 1960s on the farm. He had also been an enthusiastic waterskiier at nearby St German’s and at Brancaster.

He leaves a widow, Margaret, and son, David, daughters Sue and Jenny, eight grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

After a private funeral, a service of thanksgiving will be held at St Paul’s Church, Gorefield, tomorrow at 2pm.

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