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Rougham: Brother pays tribute to popular landowner Sir John Agnew

PUBLISHED: 09:22 27 June 2011

Sir John Agnew

Sir John Agnew

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A WELL-KNOWN landowner who was behind popular open-air events, including air displays visited by thousands of people, has died.

Sir John Agnew, Baronet, who owned and ran Rougham Estate near Bury St Edmunds with his brother George, passed away on Wednesday at the town’s West Suffolk Hospital, at the age of 60, following a battle with prostate cancer.

Thanks to Sir John, who was single, there are a whole host of shows for the public to enjoy which regularly take place at Rougham Airfield on the estate, such as a summer air display and classic car show. Events have been taking place there for more than 10 years.

George said: “He loved old aeroplanes, old military things. It was a passion he had from his childhood really, and I suppose Rougham Airfield gave him the opportunity to expand that in a big way.”

The 57-year-old added how a major achievement of his brother’s had been the charity Green Deserts, which he helped to create, which is involved in trying to stop the spread of the world’s deserts, particularly in the Sudan.

“That was his big activity and one of the ways it was funded was putting on fairs called the Rougham Green Fairs,” George said.

He said as a person, his brother loved having a good time which involved going out to restaurants and travelling.

He also described him as “very gregarious” with a wide circle of friends and also “very opinionated”, before adding: “He and I didn’t always agree, but we could still make a go of it together.”

George said his brother had kept it very quiet that he was suffering from cancer, but he had been ill for about four years.

He said there was a charitable trust which would be running the estate jointly with himself, but currently he is not sure if the shows will be continuing.

“We have had very little time to think about all of this at this present time,” he said.

The family have owned and run Rougham Estate, which consists of 1,500 hectares, since 1904.

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