Vicar driving tractor leads funeral procession for local farmer

Photo: Chris Booth.

A farmer was taken to his funeral by tractor and trailer today, with the vicar leading the procession on another tractor.

John Metcalfe’s coffin was brought to church on a trailer pulled by a classic Fordson Dexta.

Mr Metcalfe, who farmed at Washfold Farm, near Leyburn, died on December 18 aged 80.

The procession was led by vicar and tractor enthusiast Rev Chris Lawton who was driving another vintage tractor, a Ferguson TEF.

They were followed by the pallbearers in a classic Land Rover 101.

Photos: Chris Booth.

Lower Wensleydale parish priest Rev Lawton is chaplain to Leyburn Auction Mart and is friend of the family.

He said: “It is a great privilege to be asked to be asked to help a family that I’ve known the entire time I’ve lived in the area.

“I think it would have brought a smile to John to know a vicar he knew was leading the procession on one of his tractors.

“As the procession pulled out of Washfold onto the main road a large rainbow appeared which was lovely.”

John Metcalfe.

The vicar said he had borrowed one of the Metcalfe’s tractors for the procession as his own was currently being repaired.

Before arriving at the church, the funeral procession circled the town’s auction mart, where Mr Metcalfe was a director.

More than 300 people attended the funeral service at St Matthew’s in Leyburn, with mourners having to stand outside as the church was full.

Directors from the auction mart lined the path as the coffin was brought into church.

Mr Metcalfe was also a former chairman and president of the Wensleydale Agricultural Show.

Donations from the funeral will be split between the Alzheimer’s Society and St Matthew’s Church charitable causes.

Metcalfe Farms have recently had an application approved to create a museum at Washfold for the tractors and other agricultural equipment collected by John and other members of the family.