Hundreds pay last respects to countryman

IT was the kind of day Tony Harvey would have loved to have been out hunting - cold but firm under foot and visibility as far as the eye could see.Instead it was the day the countryman was laid to rest in the churchyard of the village where he had lived all his life.

IT was the kind of day Tony Harvey would have loved to have been out hunting - cold but firm under foot and visibility as far as the eye could see.

Instead it was the day the countryman was laid to rest in the churchyard of the village where he had lived all his life.

More than 700 people converged on Tannington, near Framlingham, yesterday for the funeral of Mr Harvey, a Suffolk man who had a lifelong affair with horses and hunting.

His coffin was transported to the church - at speed, according to his own instructions - on a flat wagon pulled by a beautiful Black Fresian horse and was carried into the church by members of the Easton Harriers to the traditional hunting tune, John Peel.


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In the churchyard the coffin was greeted by huntsman, Robert Moffatt, and two hounds from the Easton pack, Curlew and Quality.

The service, conducted by the Rev. David Streeter, included a folk song called Carry Me Bones to Tannington, sung by Andrew Stannard, and a tribute from Colin Plumbe , a friend for 40 years.

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He described Mr Harvey as a social, charitable, fun-loving and occasionally infuriating man who had been responsible for the development of what had become the finest pack of hounds of its kind in the country.

“He was a remarkable Suffolk sporting gentleman whose like we shall not see again,” he said.

Mr Plumbe said his friend had completed an “amazing odyssey” by riding with every mounted pack in Britain and many of the foot packs.

About 150 mourners packed into the small church. The rest stood in the churchyard and took part in a service relayed outside by a public address system.

Mr Harvey, who died at his home, Tannington Hall, aged 68, was born a mile away at Braiseworth Hall and became well known as a farmer, engineer, raconteur and traditional singer.

He was master of the Easton Harriers for two periods, from 1963-68 and 1971-89 and was out following the hunt on the day before he died.

Mr Harvey will be remembered by many for saving the old-style Kings Head pub - known as the Low House - at Laxfield from an uncertain future in the early 1990s, selling it back to Adnams in 2001.

He drove horse-drawn carriages for many years and made two epic journeys aboard a traditional gipsy wagon - to the Appleby horse fair in Cumbria and to Epsom via the centre of London, staying for one night at Buckingham Palace.

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