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Double Celebration, Dad is 90 and his Tractor is 50!!

By Maggie Stanbury September 2011

Little did he think when he first bought the only new tractor he ever owned, then aged 40, that 50 years later they would both still be in working order.  Farming at the time (1961) at Budd’s Tyson on the Devon /Cornwall border on a mixed farm, the Massey Ferguson 35 was a great addition to the farm.  It was fitted with a Massey tubular front-end loader; this made a real difference to the previous man-handling of hay and straw as well as clamped silage. We built the first clamp for silage in 1958, prior to that we made silage putting it in a hole in the ground, cutting it with a hay knife and carrying it to the stock in a wheelbarrow.  Oh how times have changed!

The MF 35 was bought from a local dealership at the time, North Cornwall Tractors, and after some haggling a price of £640 was agreed with their manager, Mr Ken Axford.  The following year he acquired the other tractor, a second hand Massey Ferguson 65, also bought from North Cornwall Tractors.  Clar90These were to be his two faithful work horses for many years and used for every job on the farm as well as a little contracting with a 40 inch cut Tarrup Forager. No ready-made silage trailers then, with the help of his brother-in-law Alf Parsons, a mechanic, they made a frame and fitted it with galvanized sheeting, attached it to the chain driven dung spreader and brought the silage in with this.  Of course it had to be spread by hand then and rolled down with the tractor.

When roll bars were introduced the 35 would no longer fit into the roundhouse attached to the barn, with no purpose built sheds he took the saw and cut a section of the 15inch oak beam out so that the 35 could return to its original place to attach a flat belt to run the corn mill that was in the barn above.  When the barns were sold the new owners could not understand why the beam had been cut away, on a visit one day Dad showed them why!

Unfortunately Dad suffered a couple of strokes in May of this year but with the help of the medical staff at Derriford Hospital Plymouth and our local Holsworthy Hospital he has made a good recovery and these photos were taken on his 90th birthday.  Unknown to Dad, John had been busy renovating the MF35 for the occasion.  Thanks to Cornish Tractors the engine was rebuilt, which he then fitted along with a new water pump, two new front tyre rims and a coat of traditional Massey Red and Grey paint.  Imagine the surprise when Dad saw it.  With the help of a concrete block and an extra step John had fitted Dad made it into the driver’s seat and drove it from the front lawn out into the field, taking Rebecca and Chris as he had done many times in the past.

Quad bikeHe also drove the quad bike around the field to see the sheep and to look at the new wind turbines at Swannacott, the goal he had set himself 8 weeks before from his hospital bed. What a way to celebrate a 90th birthday!

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