Business, sporting, and farming figure Terry Cracknell dies aged 83

Black and white photo of a man with pigs

Terry Cracknell with pigs - Credit: SUPPLIED

A man who spent his life supporting business, sport, and agriculture in Norfolk and Suffolk has died aged 83.

Terry Cracknell, of Old Buckenham, died at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital following pre-existing health issues on April 11.

Born January 25, 1938, in Cringleford near Norwich, the family moved several times during his childhood ending up in Ipswich where his father, Jack, was part of a senior management team shaping up the then newly formed National Health Service. 

AN elderly man in a suit holding a yellow baby chick

Terry Cracknell supporting OTG Thetford - Credit: SUPPLIED

Terry attended Ipswich school and inherited a love of sport from his father, excelling in cricket and rugby. There he was awarded full colours in both sports.  

As a teenager, he became a Queen’s Scout and continued to support the scout movement throughout his life.      


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Growing up, he worked on farms from a very early age. From 1957-59, he attended Seale Hayne Agricultural College in Newton Abbot, Devon, becoming its ‘Victor Luodorum’ - master of sports.  

After college, he returned to Ipswich and started working at R&W Paul, later the British Oil & Cake Mills. He eventually became its national pig, poultry, and cattle food marketing executive. 

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In 1964, having met his future wife Marian Girling, of Kent, he married and moved to Norfolk where he was offered a position with the retail arm of R&W Pauls called Colman Ware & Co, based in Roudham. They lived next door to the business and their two eldest daughters, Louise and Claire, were born. While there, he became the chair of the Bridgham and Harling Flower Show for several years. 

Black and white photo of Colman & Wear factory/site

Colman & Wear - Credit: SUPPLIED

Continuing his love of sport, he joined East Harling Cricket Club and became club treasurer. He then joined Diss RFC during the 1960s, becoming captain from 1965-1967 and president from 1985-1988.

During his time there, he helped with the function room move, fundraised for the old prefab-built clubhouse, and supervised fundraising of tens of thousands of pounds to upgrade the clubhouse to what it is today. 

In 1969, he joined Tucks of Burston. The family moved to Poplar Farm, a working pig farm in Old Buckenham, and his third daughter, Amanda, was born. 

Terry Cracknell pictured in a black and white photo at Poplar Farm

Terry Cracknell at Poplar Farm - Credit: SUPPLIED

In 1971, he changed jobs again to Eastern County Farmers before becoming self-employed in 1974, setting up The Realistic Training Company with Ralph Tuck. Customers included United Builders Merchants, John Deere, Vauxhall and Bedford’s. 

The couple separated in 1977 and sold Poplar Farm, but continued the pig farming business together. Terry moved to The Grange, on the green, then next door to the Coach House, enjoying life there with two long-term partners, firstly Wendy and then Bridget. Both have since died. 

An elderly couple wearing formal wear

Terry Cracknell with his last long-term partner, Bridget - Credit: SUPPLIED

In the 1970s, he became a member of the Worshipful Company of Farmers as well as The Farmers Club, and in the mid-1980s he went into property development, buying and developing many properties including part of the former Old Buckenham High School.  

During this time, he managed an arable farm with pigs for a tenant farmer on an estate in Wood Rising, near Hingham.

But, in 1994, the pig industry collapsed and the business was lost. Terry reverted to trading fish to keep afloat.

Through sheer determination, he found tenants for the farm and raised finances to convert it from a pig rearing facility to one for broilers to accommodate them. 

He always supported village life, helping with the village show, raising funds for a new community hall and replacement of the church roof. He also delivered the Attleborough Neighbourhood Plan and assisted with the development of the healthcare sub-plan ATTCARE.  

He played an important part as an active member of the local business community, frequently taking to the chair at meetings of the Attleborough and Snetterton business forum. He brought to task both local and national government on issues such as planning and the local economy.      

He is survived by his wife, daughters, and his brother Nigel. 

A private family funeral will be held in Old Buckenham on Saturday, May 1. Donations are invited to the British Heart Foundation via c/o Rosedale Funeral Home, Yard House, High Street, Attleborough, NR17 2EH or via Much Loved

- To view all the obituaries and tributes join the Facebook group Norfolk's Loved & Lost.

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