TRIBUTES have been paid to devoted friends and dedicated farmworkers Harold Dacre and Clarence Jackson, who died within a week of each other.

For decades they both worked for Bosomworth Farms, near Thirsk. In a tribute the Bosomworth family said: "The two highly skilled and valued workers continued to work together until well past normal retirement age, driving the combines and potato equipment in season, and laying yet more concrete blocks until finally retiring long past age 65.

"Sadly they died within a week of each other aged 82 and 81 respectively in late May 2021, and they will be sorely missed by their families, the village, their friends and the many people who worked with them over the years."

Harold started work for Bertram Bosomworth at Abbots Close Farm, Sutton, Thirsk, in January 1956 at the age of 17. A 118 acre mixed farm with dairy cows, sheep, pigs,wheat and barley, Harold learned to drive the tractors; literally to plough and sow and reap and mow. The combine harvester of the day was a P.T.O. driven Claas, and the grain was bagged on the machine, dropped onto the ground, and loaded onto trailers later by hand for transport to the shed.

As more land was acquired, the machinery grew in size, and Harold learned to cope with the new equipment. In 1960 he announced his engagement to Rita and said he would have to leave as the farm did not have a tied cottage. Rather than lose a valued worker, Bertram acquired a cottage in Bagby for Harold and Rita with Chester, one of Bertram’s sons, best man at the wedding. In the quiet winter months he worked keeping the water flowing in the ditches, using a shovel. He also learned the art of hedge-laying from Bertram.

As the farm grew and new crops were introduced he learned to use the machinery needed for potatoes, sugar beet etc. which involved maintaining all the equipment. He also became a proficient builder, laying thousands of concrete blocks.

Clarence Jackson worked on the farm part time from 1964 with sugar beet and potato crops, joining full time in 1969. About this time Clary also got married and a further tied-cottage was provided for him and Margaret in Sandhutton, rather than lose his services. Clary was renowned for the straightness of his potato and sugar beet rows, and only the recent introduction of GPS technology could equal his work.

Harold and Rita later bought a bungalow in Sandhutton as this was more convenient for them, so the bond between the two families was strengthened.

In 2005 they were presented with a Yorkshire Agricultural Society long service award by then President Christopher Bourne-Arton for more than 35 years loyal service to the farm.