A pensioner bid an emotional farewell to his allotment plot – 45 years after he began working there.
Richard Simpson, 81 – known as Dick – has grown thousands of vegetables over the years on his quarter of an acre patch at Albert Road, Pellon, since 1966.
But he gave up his beloved plot last Sunday morning because of his health.
“I’ve worked on the land almost every day since 1966,” he said.
“I pride myself on being able to get a fresh vegetable on the table every day of the year.
“That was the challenge and I have not been beaten yet.”
He said his deep-rooted passion for growing went back to the Dig for Victory campaigns following the Second World War. He still has a rhubarb plant which has been fruiting for 40 years.
Originally from Corbridge in Northumberland, Mr Simpson has lived in Luddenden Foot for most of his life, having worked as a livestock officer for the Ministry of Agriculture until 1989.
During his 45 years at the allotment he has grown thousands of vegetables and won countless prizes at the Halifax Agricultural show, including the best lettuce, which he considers his speciality.
He has also produced award-winning cauliflower, beetroot, rhubarb, leek, turnip, cabbage and peas.
After Mr Simpson developed Parkinson’s disease, he had to give up his plot.
“You don’t pack it in without some regret. All of the tenants on the plot are different now, time doesn’t stand still,” he said.
“But think of the money I will save in petrol!” he joked. His love for the land won’t end completely though, despite giving up his plot.
“I’ve got a garden at home but the land doesn’t lend itself to growing vegetables.
“I’ll be able to look after the lawn and cut the hedges so at least I’ll still be able to work outside,” he added.
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