THE Upper Eden Valley farming community was saddened to learn of the death at his home in Brough of well-known Swaledale sheep breeding enthusiast Wilf Brogden, formerly of Helbeck Farm, aged 70.
A son of the late Thomas and Peggy Brogden, he was born at Helbeck Farm. He had a brother, Stanley, and three sisters, Margaret, Dorothy and Jean.
He was educated at the school in Brough and then attended Kirkby Stephen Grammar School, after leaving which he went to work on the family farm.
He looked after the dairy cattle kept at Helbeck — at first Dairy Shorthorns and later black and whites — but his chief interest was always Swaledale sheep.
He exhibited Swaledales at a number of Eden Valley shows over the years, but the ones he liked best throughout his life were the two closest to home, at Brough and North Stainmore.
He was very keen to see these events continue to prosper, and served on the organising committees of both from the 1960s onwards. He was chairman of North Stainmore show for 30 years.
He was also a regular vendor at Brough and Hawes marts, and at one time served on the committee of the C district of the Swaledale Sheep Breeders’ Association.
Mr. Brogden continued to farm at Helbeck until the foot and mouth crisis, in the wake of which the family business was split up and he moved to live in Brough. However, he continued to keep some Swaledales, and as recently as 2009 saw one of his sheep sell at Kirkby Stephen mart for £26,000.
He very much enjoyed farming work and could turn his hand to most jobs. In particular he was a keen and skilful dry stone waller, and kept the walls at Helbeck, and later on land he had on the road from Brough to Middleton-in-Teesdale, in excellent shape.
He was a very keen footballer in his younger days and was a member of the Kaber team which won the Waitby Cup — a noted Upper Eden competition — in 1962 and 1963. He was also in sides which won knockout competitions, including ones at Cliburn and Bolton.
He had a trial as an inside forward for Penrith FC, then flying high in the old Northern League, but was told by the team’s manager, the late Alan Ashman, that he was too slight in build.
He was a keen supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC and travelled to the club’s matches when he could, although he generally preferred to stay in the Brough area.
He is survived by his brother Stanley, Helbeck Farm; sisters Mrs. Margaret Harker, Leyburn, Mrs. Dorothy Alderson, Kaber, and Mrs. Jean Bulkeley, North Wales; and son Garry, Edenhall.