Tractor procession for funeral of Bassetlaw farmer described as 'truly amazing and genuinely gifted man'

The funeral of well respected Bassetlaw farmer began with a tractor procession through a village where scores of people lined the streets to pay their respects.

Tractor procession for the funeral of John William Skelton.
Tractor procession for the funeral of John William Skelton.

Many friends and family attended the funeral service at Barnby Moor Crematorium for John Willam Skelton, who died on February 12, aged 84.

People had lined the streets in Everton as his coffin was taken to the service on the back of a tractor.

Those who knew him described him as a ‘truly amazing and genuinely gifted man’.

Tractor tribute for John William Skelton

Born on August 5, 1937, John, or ‘Skelly’ as many referred to him, was one of 10 siblings, four boys and six girls.

The family lived at Hanging Hill Lane, Skegby Road at Normanton on Trent, until the commencement of war, before moving on to the resettlement camp at Elkesley.

His son, John Skelton said: “Dad clearly took after his own father, George, who was green fingered, after acquiring around half an acre of land near the huts when he was told “what ever you can dig is yours”, he set straight to work and clearly took advantage of that gesture, perhaps where dad learnt to keep his garden so immaculate and well stocked.”

Family member Hazel added: “The family spent many a Sunday down at Crookford Waters with a jam jar and string where they used to catch sticklebacks and red breasts, if it was a particularly nice day they used to enjoy long walks through to Bothamsall.”

Tractor procession for the funeral of John William Skelton.

As a car and motorbike enthusiast, John was not short of fast cars, which included Mini, Mazda RX5 and Capri’s. He was also well travelled as a young man and he worked in Spain,Portugal, Scotland and Wales.

John said: “During his days abroad, dad was well thought of and regarded as incredibly talented.

"One thing not many could do back in the day was splicing rope, and dad was told he could make a healthy living doing this alone, despite his best efforts he didn’t take the offer, and instead continued with building the power station cooling towers at West Burton.”

Once back the UK he worked as an agricultural engineer, repairing, maintaining and modifying farm equipment.

John and his nephew Dave Lobley set up JD Maintenance together.

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He also worked for local firm Strawsons at Bilsthorpe, Elkesley and Norfolk for a number of years, making many friends during his time farming.

Working in agriculture, his talents were especially prised during harvest time, as he would camp in his caravan at the edge of the fields to be available when the harvesting machines would break. The success of a whole harvesting operation could be dependent on his repairs.

As well as his love for tractors, John also enjoyed fishing and was a keen follower of football.

His son added: "Dad loved his tractors and tinkering in the garage all times of day and night, his mind never really did switch off, always problem solving, thinking of that next thing to build, the next job to do.

“Nothing was ever too much trouble, nothing was too much of an ask, he was selfless all the way to his final day.”

A devoted family man, John leaves behind Cynthia, devoted partner of 30 plus years and their children, John, Joy, Jeff, Neil, Sandra and Karen.