Huntsman celebrates his 100th birthday

13:38 23 January 2013

Tom Elliott, Master of the Hunt, helps Mr Folland cut his cake. Pic by Graham Hobbs.

Tom Elliott, Master of the Hunt, helps Mr Folland cut his cake. Pic by Graham Hobbs.

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Family and friends gather to honour well known Torridge centenarian John Folland.

John Folland pictured with his children Geoffery, Charles and Marrion.

Pic by Graham HobbsJohn Folland pictured with his children Geoffery, Charles and Marrion. Pic by Graham Hobbs

A WELL-KNOWN figure in the Torridge farming community and stalwart of the local hunt has celebrated his 100th birthday in style.

John Folland was joined by a huge crowd of family and friends at a celebration meet of the Stevenstone Hunt on Saturday in Langtree.

People from Bideford to Holsworthy have always known him affectionately as ‘Farmer Folland’, and he has been involved with the hunt for most of his life, riding out with them until he was well over 80 years of age.

The meet was held at Little Comfort Farm, owned by Mr Folland’s grandson Neil and along with his three children Charles, Marion and Geoffrey he was joined by his many grand children and great grand children, who now total 42.

The meet was suggested by the Master of the Stevenstone hunt, Tom Elliott, who together with Neil organised the celebration. As a boy Tom often rode with Mr Folland in the hunt and learned from him.

On Saturday he presented the centenarian, who turned 100 on Monday, with a wonderfully decorated cake showing many aspects of his busy life and joined him for the official cake cutting.

“He was in great humour and had a wonderful day,” said Charles.

“He met many, many old friends he had ridden with over the years as a large crowd turned out, He is well known across this part of North Devon and if you talked about ‘Farmer Folland’, everyone would know who you meant.

“He is greatly respected and has done a tremendous amount for farming and the rural way of life in these parts.”

John Folland was born at St Giles-in-the-Wood in 1913 and married his wife Eleanor in 1938. They initially farmed Annery Barton at Monkleigh before moving to Langtree where they farmed at Collacott Farm until his retirement, when he moved to Abbotsham, with Geoffrey taking over the farm.

He suffered a stroke five years ago and now lives at The Warren Nursing Home in Northam. Charles is full of praise for the home and said his father was wonderfully cared for, having made a great many friends.

The whole family also gathered at the Riversford Restaurant in Bideford on Sunday for lunch and on Monday Mr Folland was treated to a birthday tea at The Warren.

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