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Farmer’s coffin carried to funeral on tractor-drawn manure spreader

A farmer was given a fitting farewell after being taken to his funeral in a tractor-drawn manure spreader through his cattle yard so he could “see his cows one last time.”

Retired cattle rancher George Brookes, from Uttoxeter, a market town in England, died on July 31 at the age of 85 after a long battle with lung cancer. His family paid him a moving tribute by mounting his coffin on the back of an antique tractor before taking him to see his beloved cows during his last trip.

His son David, 63, said that even after he retired, George would ask his wife to take him around the Lower Loxley farm, where he worked until he was 60, to take a look at the cattle. So family members thought it would be appropriate for the 13-year-old grandfather to take one last tour of the yard on the way to his funeral on Aug. 17.

Farmer George Brookes’ casket is taken for a ride on a tractor “so he could see his cows one last time” on August 17, 2022. His family paid a moving tribute by mounting his casket on the back of a tractor old before taking him to see his beloved cows during his final journey.
David Brookes, SWNS/Zenger

They borrowed a vintage Ford 1000 series 4×4 tractor which they drove to the farm and their birthplace before heading to St Lawrence’s Church in Bramshall, a village in Staffordshire, England.

Brookes’s son, a farmer and former councillor, said: “We had a proper farmer’s funeral for my dad and he went to see his cows in an old tractor. We put it in an old manure spreader, we had used it.” several times over the years on the farm.

“Dad would have laughed at the irony of the manure spreader, he didn’t want black cars. My father loved a lot of things, but almost more than anything he loved his cows.

“Nothing he enjoyed better than having my mother take him out to the cows and look at them. He loved cattle, spending a lot of time milking cows from his youth to his 60s.”

“He really enjoyed being led around the farm, looking at the new buildings and all the animals, having the girls tell him about the animals. He was a well-known and well-liked man in the area. Everyone knew my dad and he had around 300 mourners at his funeral. I imagine he’d be proud of his farewell.”

Brookes, a lifelong season ticket holder for Stoke City FC, was the youngest of three brothers born at Chapel Farm, Beamhurst, in Staffordshire, on January 31, 1937. He and his family moved to Lower Loxley Farm, near Uttoxeter, in 1949., and David has continued in his father’s footsteps as he continues to work on the farm today.

Brookes built pens out of bluestones and driftwood to make stables with his brothers. He and his wife Kath have four children, 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Farmer George Brookes in undated photo
George Brookes poses in an undated photo. The farmer’s coffin was carried on a tractor “so he could see his cows one last time” before his funeral on August 17, 2022.
David Brookes, SWNS/Zenger

His son added: “He had a lot of things that meant a lot of things, Stoke City, his family and drinking pints while chewing the grease in the pub. If he ever needed him he was often found in a pub. He would always turn up five minutes before to close and was still sitting in the same place hours later.

“A lot of people gave us tremendous support in his later years. He was exactly 85 years and exactly six months old, passed away at home. He had terminal lung cancer, spent most of his life sucking on his pipe.

“On his journey he also passed by his home, his birthplace, we just drove. I’m sure he would have loved it. We had a family reunion three weeks before he passed where all his grandchildren were.” So we were all able to get together and it was very nice.

“He was passionate about his lifestyle and the farm he lived and worked on. He was incredibly proud of his children and grandchildren, always saying that none of them had a sloth bone in their body, which always taught us to be like he was a big character. He lived a full life, he wasn’t someone who made a lot of money in his life. But he was just happy.”

Produced in association with SWNS.

This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.

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