TRIBUTES have poured in to former Farmers Guardian columnist Mike Keeble, who has died aged 77.
Mr Keeble, of East Witton, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, died on Sunday after a long battle with prostate cancer.
A well known face to many through his years of commentary in the beef rings at the Great Yorkshire Show and other shows, he was a hugely respected expert on issues such as livestock production and upland farming in particular.
Mr Keeble was an FG columnist for almost 20 years and his wife, Peta, said he had a ’gift for educating the general public about farming and making them understand how it fitted in’.
FG editor Emma Penny added: "Mike was a long term contributor to, and great supporter of Farmers Guardian. He was always keen to look at new ideas and ventures, support the next generation and make sure the facts about farming and its valuable contribution were disseminated as widely as possible.
"His determination, enthusiasm and in-depth knowledge will be sorely missed."
Born in London, Mr Keeble was evacuated to Chorley Wood, Hertfordshire, during World War Two, where his love of the countryside grew.
He eventually went on to study at Harper Adams College, Shropshire, and then went to work in land agency.
Eventually securing a farm tenancy of his own on the Clifton Castle Estate, North Yorkshire, he was one of the first importers of Limousin cattle in to the UK.
Dominic Naylor, farm manager at Lilburn Estate, Northumberland, said Mr Keeble had been a huge influence on his career and someone whose ’glass was always half full’.
He said: "He encouraged me as I looked to become a farm manager and he was always available with help and advice. I will miss him personally and the wider industry will also miss him because he was a great communicator."
Charles Mills, show director of the Great Yorkshire Show and Countryside Live, said Mr Keeble had a ’unique ability to relate to people’.
“Mike was a wonderful advocate for the industry and an amazing friend to the Yorkshire Agricultural Society," added Mr Mills. "The industry has lost a great friend and a superb ambassador.”