Dennis better known as Den lived in Bawdrip the whole of his 79 years. Born to Edwin and Edith Crane of Church Farm a younger brother to Ed. Den went to school in Bawdrip followed by Doctor Morgan’s Grammar School in Bridgwater.
He grew up on Church Farm and from a very young age after school, homework had to take second place to the farm work. He would have loved to have the opportunity to go onto further education, but in those days it was expected that farmer’s sons came home to carry on the family business. He got on with life threw heart and soul into farming helping to build the family business into what it is today.
Den met his wife Angela through Bridgwater Young Farmers. They married in Othery Church on 10th April 1971. Their first home was Chapel Cottage in Bradney Lane and moved to the Old Farmhouse New Road in 1982. Both homes hold happy memories, but I can’t pretend it was all a bed of roses. We did make a good team and although low key due to Cove-id restrictions celebrated our golden wedding in 2021. We had two children Nicola and Richard both went to Bawdrip and Chedzoy schools and then Wellington school. Den encouraged them to go to university and often said no one can take away an education. He was very proud of what his children achieved and loved to see the progress his four grandchildren were making in life.
Den was for the most part a quiet unassuming person, but he was very determined and could be stubborn. If anyone really went against him or upset him, he would find ways of having the final word. He was hard working, farming coming before pleasure. Sometimes a day on the farm would be from 5:00am to milk the dairy herd until 11:00pm harvesting. He was very clever at repairing machinery tractors and welding even building a milking parlour from scratch. As time progressed changes were made on the farm, the dairy herd being sold in 1996. It was a very sad and uncertain time for all the family, Ed amicably left the partnership in 1997 but kept his interest in the farm. Den turned to arable farming he took pride in his crops and was a well-respected farmer.
His life was farming, family and friends, and he loved to entertain at home; his farming and social life went hand in hand. He enjoyed playing in the Tuesday night friendly Skittles team and was a past member, chairman and president of the NFU, Polden Hills Bridgwater and Somerset Young Farmers, Bridgwater Ploughing Match and the Bridgwater Agricultural Society. He took part in ploughing competitions, laterally helping with organising the event. They said that he gave his time and knowledge willingly. The Agricultural Society also said that he had been a long serving valued member.
Unfortunately, in 2011 Den suffered ill health the consequences of which turned our lives upside down ending his physical farming days very abruptly. But he never complained, if asked he would always say “I’m alright how are you?” Despite all this he still took an interest in what was happening on the farm discussing the crops with Steve. He was lucky that friends with farming connections visited him regularly and many admired his strength to keep going through all adversity, still managing interesting conversation and his humour. He also adapted in other ways still interacting with the grandchildren but in a different way; playing chess, dominos and other board games, sometimes reading to him or he reading to them; although I know he would have loved to have been able to run around the garden playing hide and seek cricket and football. Den never really took sport seriously but after his confinement was able to enjoy snooker, cricket, and football on the TV.
The number of people at his funeral service and the ones represented was testimony to his popularity. The words from the messages of condolence made his family feel very proud and humbled. “A wonderful person extremely popular with all she had the privilege to know him. A helpful kind good and proud farmer a great character with a big heart. A special man pleasant and friendly with his own sense of humour. A good friend a man of principle, a true gentleman greatly respected and admired. Always cheerful brave and strong with a smile and reassuring optimism”. Den never asked for much in life, and had few trips abroad, he liked museums and particularly enjoyed Rome and the Sistine Chapel. He enjoyed his fillet steak and a brandy or two often teasing me that I watered it down.
Den was a good husband, dad and granddad who looked out for us all and leaves a huge void in our lives.