Community mourns death of ‘caring and dedicated’ farmer and family man

Farmer Brian Hull pictured in a wheat field Picture: THE HULL FAMILY

Farmer Brian Hull pictured in a wheat field Picture: THE HULL FAMILY - Credit: Archant

Just days before he was struck down by coronavirus, hard-working farmer Brian Hull was fit, strong and putting in his customary shift on the family holding near Eye.

But within five days of falling ill, the caring 69-year-old grandad and Occold village stalwart succumbed to the disease. His sudden passing has been met with shock and disbelief.

“No one would believe he was 69 years old — he was a very fit man, still working six days a week,” said younger son, Chris.

MORE — Egg producers hope to crack local market with vending ventureOn Thursday, October 29, his dad worked as normal. By Friday he was still working but had started to feel unwell. His condition deteriorated rapidly over the weekend, and on Monday he was taken to hospital. He died two days later “after a short, vicious battle” with the illness, he said.

Fortunately, although wife, Lesley, also tested positive for the virus, her symptoms were mild.

“It was so quick and so dramatic he just couldn’t keep with it,” said Chris.

Based at Church Farm, Occold, Brian was dedicated to his family — he had two daughters, two sons and 10 grandchildren — and to his farm and his community.

He ran a highly successful free range flock of 17,000 egg-laying hens and an arable operation, both of which continue under sons Chris and Daniel.

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Born into a farming family at Marsh Farm, South Woodham Ferrers, in Essex in 1951, he was the fourth child of John and Edith.

His childhood was “hard but also delightful” and full of adventure, his family said.

He began working at an early age for the family dairy herd and on the land, attending South Woodham Primary and then Beauchamps Secondary School in Wickford.

In 1972 he met Lesley and they tied the knot the following year. In 1974 they moved to Church Farm in Occold, along with a dairy herd.

Brian’s love of his pedigree Holstein dairy herd was “phenomenal”, said Chris, and he remained dedicated to it until it was sold in 2007.

The couple had four children. Tracy, the eldest, arrived in 1975 followed two years later by Michelle. Daniel was born in 1979 and Christopher arrived seven years later.

Despite his busy work and family life, Brian still managed to give much of his time to helping others, raising funds for charities and good causes, including for his home village, which purchased brewery land to build a village hall.

He remained involved in Occold Recreational and Amenities Council (ORAC), including its current quest to extend the village hall.

The family said it had been “overwhelmingly comforted” by messages of support from the local community and beyond following his death.

“Brian was a generous, loving, caring supportive man, who managed to positively impact so many lives,” the Hulls said.

In lieu of flowers and in memory of Brian’s charitable past the family have set up a Just Giving page to raise money for the charity he was most dedicated to, which was set up to support children with the same condition as his grandson.

Sebby’s Gifts supports children diagnosed with Tango 2. If anyone would like to donate to it, please visit here

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