Son’s tribute to ‘cheeky’ Suffolk mole catcher
- Credit: ARCHANT
A ‘cheeky and provocative’ father-of-two, who became a well-known mole catcher in Suffolk and Norfolk after being taught the art in primary school, has sadly died at 83.
George Utting, known as ‘the mole catcher’, died at his home in Bucklesham on Friday, September 18 after suffering from heart problems.
His eldest son Mark Utting described his father as a “country boy” who was “very old school” and larger than life.
Mr Utting was born in Fulmodestone, in north Norfolk, where at just nine years old he was taught to mole catch by his primary headmaster.
Mr Utting said his father was taught to mole catch to stop him from poaching after school.
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He left school at the age of 12 and got his first job as a junior rabbit catcher, before later becoming a well-known gamekeeper and mole catcher in East Anglia.
In 1954 he moved to Hertfordshire, meeting his wife-to-be Kitty Scripps in his late teenage years at a dance – a passion the pair shared.
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Mr Utting was then sent to do national service from 1955 to 1957, but Kitty wrote him a Dear John letter while he was serving in Hong Kong.
When he returned two years later the pair rekindled their relationship and moved back to Norfolk and got married in 1959.
Their eldest son Mark, now 54, was born in 1966 and in 1967 they moved to Kirton where Mr Utting became Head gamekeeper. They welcomed their second son Michael, now 51, in 1969.
Mr Utting was made redundant about 15 years later and got a job as a driver for Securicor parcels in Ipswich, the family later moved to Bucklesham, where he lived until his death.
Throughout all of his jobs, Mr Utting did mole catching in his spare time, with his eldest son describing him as a “right old country boy”.
He then turned his mole catching passion into his own business, becoming known as ‘The Molecatcher’ in his late 50s.
Mr Utting said: “Dad loved being out and about and he could talk the back legs off a donkey.
“He had a very traditional working countryman’s style and every one would recognise him by the weather-beaten Trilby hat and Harris tweed jacket.
“He was cheeky, stubborn, he would always say what he wanted and he was very provocative.
“We argued like cat and dog half the time, but we had a lot of laughter.”
Mr Utting said his father’s mole catching was “quite a skill” and explained how he was one of the only people to still catch them using traps.
He added: “Dad had a very countrified attitude. He thought there could be too much of something, like rabbits and moles, and they could become a pest when trying to grow crops or keeping school fields free of mole mounds but he didn’t believe in killing for pleasure.”
Mr Utting said his father enjoyed horse-racing and loved going to Newmarket.
Mr and Mrs Utting also loved going to Irish music events together in East Anglia, watching the likes of Brendan Shine and Louise Morrissey.
Mr Utting ran his mole catching business for 14 years, retiring shortly after his wife passed away in 2011.
His son said Mr Utting will be truly missed by all the family.