'Small farms are finished'

FLIXTON'S last local-born farmer is putting all his livestock and machinery up for auction as he predicts the end of an era for small enterprises like his own.

Brian Lunn was born opposite the Foxhound pub in January 1939 and his family took on Park House Farm as tenants in 1946. But after more than half a century, the family is preparing to leave.

The young Brian excelled at sport, but early dreams of becoming a professional footballer were dealt a blow when he broke his leg playing for first-division Staxton. It was his 15th birthday – and he was told there were scouts in attendance.

Before that, he scored 18 goals in six appearances for the men’s side, and was later signed for Scarborough – on top of a haystack!

He also played cricket for Scarborough 1sts – a “fantastic experience” in which he came up against the likes of Geoffrey Boycott.

But farming came first, and his competitive nature found an outlet in taking part in sheep dog trials for Ryedale and entering agricultural shows with his dairy cows.

In more recent years, Mr Lunn and his son David have concentrated on raising fat spring lambs and suckler calves which are sold on to other farms.

“We see them all born up to seven or eight months, but we haven’t got the room to carry them on,” he said.

The farm – which he still rents – is 125 acres, making it uneconomic to buy certains types of equipment, which used to be shared between small farmers. His grandfather spent 26 years driving a steam engine with a threshing machine.

“When I first started, mowers and combines were shared round the village. Now you find it difficult to get jobs done.

“I’ve been here 62 years and it will be a sad day when I go. I never thought the day would come when I couldn’t farm anymore. But small farms are finished.”

Mr Lunn said he didn’t know where he would go, although he would like to find three-quarters of an acre to train sheep dogs. His son, who only works part-time on the farm, will probably leave the industry, although his daughter maintains a link with agriculture, working as a scientific officer for Adas.

l What do you think? Write to the Filey and Hunmanby Mercury, 17-23 Aberdeen Walk, Scarborough, YO11 1BB or email stephanie.pride@yrnltd.co.uk.