Respected farmer and family man

Date: Tuesday 9th October 2018

WELL-respected farmer and family man John Lancaster, of Lime Tree Farm, Culgaith, died at the Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle, following a sudden illness on the farm.

William John Lancaster was born on the family farm in Culgaith on 11th April, 1940 and lived a contented childhood, like many generations of Lancasters before him, with Annie and Frank, his parents, as their only child.

He went to The Craig Preparatory School, Windermere, followed by St Bees School. At St Bees, he made many lifelong friends, and was a proud old boy of the school.

He left St Bees and came home to Culgaith to work with his father on the farm. He loved his work and soon joined Penrith Young Farmers Club, where he also made friends for life.

It was when he was with a young farmer friend in Carlisle that he met his wife-to-be, Ann, who was at art college at the time in 1963. Three years later, they were married in St Michael’s Church, Dumfries, her home town.

In their first few married years, John and Ann lived at Skirsgill Farm, Penrith, now the site of North Lakes Hotel. John would then drive to Culgaith to run the farm with his father.

Not long after, John and Ann moved to the family farm, which he began to modernise during the 1980s and 90s. Four children followed: Stephen, the managing director of PFK in Penrith; Stuart, senior coach at Leinster Rugby Club, Dublin; Fiona, who has a happy and successful life with her family in Wilmslow; and David, who works as a barrister in London.

John was hugely influential in shaping the personality and lives of his children and loved watching them grow up. He also became a much-loved grandfather to Max, Spencer, Sophie, Daniel, Georgie and Millie.

He ran a very successful dairy, beef and sheep farm around Culgaith for all of his adult life. However, foot and mouth, which was devastating for the whole of the farming community in Cumbria, struck in 2001 and Lime Tree Farm suffered also. He restocked with beef and sheep and continued to farm right up until his untimely passing.

John was a kind man, a real gentleman. He loved animals and never saw work as work. He was a man of great integrity and his patient, balanced demeanour helped hugely in managing the farm and in helping Ann to bring up four young children so well.

Many people expressed their shock and sympathy at his passing, but also described his dry wit and sense of humour. John connected with so many people on different levels and his personality and presence was felt far beyond the local community of Culgaith.

John was talented at sport and played regularly at Penrith Squash club during the 1980s. He enjoyed going to Penrith Rugby Club and supporting the first team.

He loved socialising and was a member of Melmerby Gardening Club and Penrith Probus Club. He was also a member of Penrith Wine Club for many years.

John also found time to support the local community in Culgaith and Penrith and previously served as a governor of Culgaith School and a councillor for the Culgaith parish and Eden district councils, where he was held in high regard by his peers.

Above all, John was a family man and was deeply committed to supporting his family and putting them first. He was much loved and will be sorely missed by many, especially his wife, Ann, and his family.