His many friends and neighbours in the Barkwith area were saddened to learn of the sudden death in Lincoln County Hospital of Ernest Daniel Hodgson aged 86 years.
He had enjoyed good health all his life and is survived by his wife Alice, daughters Susan Cooper, Elizabeth Benton, Jennifer Ward and Lorna Ward; eight grand children and four great grandchildren.
Life began for Ernest, or Ern or Ernie as he became known to friends, in Cumberland in 1931 when he was born at Branthwaite, the youngest of the three children of the late Jack and Annie Hodgson.
He grew up at Ullock, attending the nearby village school at Dean until he was 14, when he left to start general farm work in Ullock, with horses providing the power and cows to be milked twice each day, seven days a week on small rural farms.
Cycling was the only means of transport from the village, until he had saved up and became the proud owner of a motor bike, which enabled him to travel further afield to dances or the cinema in the nearest town of Cockermouth.
He met his future wife Alice Crayston when she went to look after the poultry at the farm and help in the house.
After they married at Haile Church in June 1955, they spent their honeymoon touring Scotland on the motorbike.
They set up home at Smithy Cottage, Mockerkin, but a year later they were offered the opportunity of moving to Lincolnshire, where Ernest was to work on the Chatterton’s Farm at Welbourn.
They decided to accept and travelled down on the motorbike to find farming on a totally different scale to any they had seen before – huge fields with tractors providing the power and they saw a combine harvester for the first time, all replacing the horses.
Ernest soon decided to replace his motorbike with a car too.
At the time, driving tests were abandoned due to the petrol shortage in the Suez crisis- he just had to purchase the licence and he was on the road.
He then decided to move on to Waddington, working for Frank Dickinson at Grange Farm, where their two eldest girls were born, and when Frank gave up farming in 1962 they arrived at West Barkwith, where Ernest worked for the late Barker Campion.
They lived in part of the Old Rectory for a time, where their two younger girls were born and later at Tichbourne Cottage, but as the girls grew up and started school, they wanted to leave the uncertainty of living in a tied house.
They managed to save the deposit and were able to buy their lovely old, but very dilapidated cottage in East Barkwith, which still remains the family home.
Ernest continued in farm work for the late ‘Bub’ Chambers for some years until he took advantage of his new found freedom and joined the team at local builder Arthur Clark’s, working there until Arthur retired and the business closed.
Having really enjoyed his introduction to the building trade, Ernest eventually joined Hugh Bourn Developments at Wragby, where he spent many happy years, sometimes helping on the farm too until the firm changed hands and most of the work force was made redundant.
Ernest continued working into his 70s, after being given a lighter driving job as he enjoyed good health all his life- and he never adapted to retirement.
He missed the company of his work mates and regularly went visiting, as he had no particular interests and was completely lost.
He rarely travelled far in his own car and always looked forward to weekends when his former work mate John ‘Tufty ‘Epton collected him and took him driving around the countryside viewing the seasonal farming activities.
He was also always pleased to accept a ride out with friends who picked him up when he was out walking.
The family enjoyed many camping holidays when the girls were young, taking the opportunity to explore new areas of the country and in1980, for their silver wedding anniversary, they hired a narrow boat and spent a week sailing on the Bridgewater and Ashton canals.
Ernest was an arm chair sportsman, preferring to watch football in particular, but other sports too on TV as he became less active.
He also enjoyed wild life and farming programmes.
A thanksgiving service for Ernest’s life was held at Lincoln Crematorium, led by Civil Celebrant Richard Sayer MICF; funeral arrangements were made by Peter Riley of the Lincolnshire Cooperative Funeral Services at Gainsborough.
The theme for the service, illustrating his life’s journey, began with Denis Westmorland singing Beautiful Lakeland and The Daffodils by William Wordsworth, ending in his adopted county of Lincolnshire with he Spinners singing The Lincolnshire Poacher, with Memories of Ernest written by Alice and read by Richard.
The family flowers were later placed in St Mary’s Churchyard on the grave of a much loved family friend who had died in 1981, by coincidence on the day of the funeral, at the age of just 17.
Alice and the family wish to thank everyone who made donations to Cancer Research UK in Ernest’s memory which amounted to £666.20.
Family mourners were: Alice Hodgson (wife); Susan and Paul Cooper, Elizabeth and John Benton, Lorna and Paul Ward (daughters and sons-in-law); Jennifer Ward and Steve Brydon (daughter and partner); Katie Cooper, Jessica Cooper, Grace Cooper, Laura Benton, Hannah Mallott (also rep. Martin Mallott), Adam Benton, Gemma and Scott Oyston, Ben and Steph Ward (grandchildren); Dorothy Jenkinson (sister-in-law); Edwin Crayston, George Crayston (brothers in law); Raymond Jenkinson (nephew-in-law); Henry and Isabel Crayston (brother-in-law and sister-in-law unable to attend due to illness).
Friends present included Daniel Ward; Geoff and Betty Ward; John Epton; William Garbutt; Trevor Whiteley; Bryan Steel (also rep Michael Steel); Graham Noon; Peter Noon; John and Gill Harrison; David and Dorothy Warr; Gill Campion; Stephen Campion; Martyn Chambers (also rep Patricia Chambers); Christopher and Sally Bourn (also rep David and Sally Ward, East Barkwith village shop); Hilda Jackson; Linda King; Ken Hand; Tim and Doreen Rowson; Barrie and Dorothy Dury (also representing Mr and Mrs Graham Cannon); Gillian Bull (also representing Roger Bull); Jessica Foster (also rep the Wragby and district Social Group, formerly Disability Lincs); Joshua Murray; Marilyn Clark (also rep Grace Clark); Neal Jackson (also representing Brenda Jackson); Mr W G and Mrs M E Ward; Keith Lee (also representing Karen, Annette and Rachel); Graham and Sylvia Mowbray (also representing Bill and Sheila Minns); Richard Stamp; Jo Whyles (also representing Chris Whyles, Mike and Jane Perkins, Andy Perkins and Nick Summers); Roy and Rachel Laughton (also representing Margaret Clark); Denis Brader (also representing Jean Brader); Ricky Scarboro; Paul Slinger; Mr and Mrs Chris Wilson (also representing Christopher Wilson junior).