Plenty in attendance at memorial service for John

John Craigs, who died earlier this month at the age of 85.
John Craigs, who died earlier this month at the age of 85.

Tributes have been paid to a well-known and respected farmer in Northumberland.

A large number of people attended the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Mitford to celebrate the life of John Craigs, who died on May 1 at the age of 85.

His father bought Tritlington Hall and farmland in 1919, having moved from The Hirst Farm in Ashington. When his father died, John was only 12 years old.

He left public school aged 17 to come home and take over the running of the estate without any formal training. Being a keen member of the Young Farmers Club, he said, helped him to learn more about farming and public speaking.

As well as farming, he led a full life of public duties. He was an elected councillor on Morpeth Rural District Council for 16 years and a member of the NFU Executive in Northumberland.

He was appointed a magistrate in 1970, deputy chairman of the bench in Morpeth and chairman of the juvenile panel.

He was a member and chairman of the board of visitors to Acklington Prison and chairman of the board of visitors at Castington Youth Custody Centre for four years.

John was elected as a director of WCF – a large farming co-operative operating throughout the North of England and South of Scotland – becoming vice chairman and then chairman in 1983 until 1995.

He served as chairman of the Office of Electricity Regulation (OFFER) from 1990 until 1996 and was chairman of Ashington Estates, a residential property company, from 1978, a local director of NFU Mutual and a tax commissioner.

He was also a Freemason for 62 years and supported Freemasonry in Northumberland, especially around Morpeth, Amble and Ashington.

A keen sportsman, John played hockey for Morpeth and Northumberland.

He also played cricket for Morpeth until 1970 and during this time, he captained the Morpeth team.

At the end of his playing career, he became chairman of the Morpeth Cricket, Hockey and Tennis Club and was latterly president, spending a lot of time encouraging young sportsmen and women and helping to look after the ground at Longhirst.

He played golf on the Foxton Hall course, was captain of the Alnmouth club in 1997 and was for a time chairman of the greens committee.

In addition, John was an ardent supporter of Newcastle United.

The large number of people from all walks of life present at the memorial service demonstrated the high esteem in which he was held.

John and his wife, Liz, were married for almost 63 years. He was a much-loved father, grandfather and great-grandfather.