Villagers mourn farmer’s death

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Latest news from the Suffolk Free Press,, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

Hundreds of people attended the funeral of well-known Lavenham farmer Harold Chrystal at the Church of St Peter and St Paul on Monday.

Mr Chrystal, who was a church warden at the Lavenham church for 12 years, died on July 3. He was 92.

The service, attended by more than 400 people, was followed by a private family cremation.

Mr Chrystal was known by many as a stalwart of the Suffolk Agricultural Association and the Suffolk Show, where he was a steward in the grand ring and for show jumping. He was one of the first recipients of the association’s honorary life vice-president’s award.

Another of his passions was hockey.

John Hendy, Ipswich Hockey Club past president, said: “He was the grand old man of Suffolk hockey.

“His enthusiasm for anything he was involved in was unbounded. Among his many hockey accomplishments was in the early ’70s when he persuaded Ipswich Town football club to lend England Hockey their ground for a full international – for £25. He was a legend.

“He will be missed but, for those who spent time in his good company, our fond memories of his sage, forthright, passionate, energetic and good-humoured character will live on.”

Mr Chrystal, a father-of-three and a grandfather, lived and farmed at Hill Farm, Lavenham, a 310-acre mixed farm with a dairy herd. His son Richard took over the business when his father retired.

Lavenham church warden Graham Patrick said: “It was said at the funeral that, when he got to the age of 70, he said he would be retiring from running the farm, but he still ran it from his armchair. Even in his 80s, he had a lot of energy behind him.”

Mr Patrick said Mr Chrystal was a church warden from 1999 until 2011 when he retired due to ill health.

“He was heavily involved in instigating and running the Lavenham Church Fabric Fund, and the fund will benefit from donations from his funeral split equally with the East Anglian Air Ambulance,” said Mr Patrick.