THE Melplash Agricultural Society has lost one of its most faithful supporters with the death of Graham Crumpler, 86, from Clandon Farm in Broadwindsor.

And tributes have been pouring in for the man who devoted his life to agriculture, horses and the society.

Former Melplash Show secretary Elizabeth Gale said: “Graham was an absolute stalwart of the Melplash Agricultural Society. He was dedicated to it. He was chairman and president and a great committee member.

“He paid attention to detail and was particularly instrumental on the light horse committee and had many successes himself at the show.

“He showed his horses all over the country. He certainly knew his horses.”

His friend and fellow farmer Robert Bowditch, who knew Mr Crumpler since 1968, said Mr Crumpler was a dairy farmer, helped by his late wife Sheila, for years but loved his racing and his horses.

He added: “The Cattistock Hunt was also his love. He bred a lot of successful horses. He was a great supporter of the Melplash Show.

“He was a very, very friendly chap.

“He’d always say what he had to say and have it right. He was a very strong character. He loved his skittles as well and had his own team in the Cattistock Hunt for years.

“He will be greatly missed.”

He was awarded The Bugler Cup for his services to agriculture in West Dorset and for his record number of years being associated with the Melplash Agriculture Society.

In 2000 he was already an honorary life vice president of the society.

He served on the society’s committee since the first show after the war in 1946. Mr Crumpler, who started riding almost before he could walk, used to hunt a lot but had a terrible accident when he was 17 racing over jumps and was unconscious for ten days. The doctors said he should never ride again, but he did.

All over the walls of his home were pictures of the horses that have filled Mr Crumpler’s life – prominent among them the stunning grey Clandon Jack who won ten races and Clandon Lad and Clandon Choice, both winners too.

He was also president of the Cattistock Hunt Supporters Club, was on the Cattistock Hunt committee, the point to point committee, was chairman of the sheep committee, served on the hedging, ploughing and farms committee and had judged and stewarded many times for youngstock (cattle) and farms’ competitions.

The funeral will take place at 2pm on Monday, January 27 at St Mary’s Church in Beaminster. The family have requested only family flowers, but donations for the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance can be made.