Tributes have poured in for “Lancashire’s ambassador for farming” after husband, father and grandad Alan Swale died.
Dozens of people flocked online to offer their condolences to Alan’s family, who farm at Joylan Farm, which sits in Sowerby, between St Michaels and Inskip.
The 77-year-old died of a stroke on Sunday evening at Preston Private Nursing Home in Fulwood leaving behind wife Joyce, six children and 13 grandchildren.
In a statement, Alan’s family said: “He was such a strong personality and has turned the farm from a small business into a massive success.
“We have a huge family and he was a mentor and not just a father to his children.
“Alan was painfully honest and always worth listening to.
“He has left a huge hole in our hearts and was the driving force in a lot of our lives as well as the farm.
“He was a real animal person with a great sense of humour and it’s been a very difficult time as he had only been ill for a short time and passed away suddenly.”
The Facebook post was met with more than 60 comments with many describing Alan as “ a real gentleman”, “one of a kind” and “a fantastic man”.
Friend Frank Nicholls took to Facebook to say: “He achieved far more than most in his life and will be very greatly missed.”
And he was joined by many others, including Susan Hanson Pinder, who said: “So sorry to hear of Alan’s passing, colourful character indeed, a real gentleman who will be sadly missed by many, RIP Alan.”
Alan, along with sons David and John and grandson Matthew, claimed to be the first farm in Europe to produce NEMi-Milk Naturally Enriched Milk innovations, a new brand of super milk. And, in little over a year, they have expanded to a customer list of over 4,000 across the North West.
It’s after Alan took charge of his first farm aged 17 before moving to Joylan Farm, off Pinfold Lane with wife Joyce in 1981. They bought their first pedigree cattle in 1972.
In 1994, the couple held champion titles at the Royal Show and Dairy Show and has been recognised as the premier breeder in the UK.
Despite semi-retiring in 2000, Alan remained a huge presence in the business and in the community.
Alan, who spent more than 60 years in dairy farming, passed away peacefully in the night say his family, who have asked for time while they make arrangements for his funeral.