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Jul 01

Dairy Cows Convince Farmer’s Dog to Off Him

Multi-millionaire dairy farmer Derek Mead crushed to death by his own tractor in tragic accident at farm

Investigation will concentrate on the possibility that his pet dog may have accidentally knocked the tractor’s gear stick

Multi-millionaire dairy farmer and entrepreneur Derek Mead has died after being crushed by his own tractor at his farm near Weston-super-Mare. Businessman Mr Mead was out working on his farm at West Rolstone Road, Puxton on Sunday afternoon when the accident happened.

It is understood Mr Mead was moving equipment on a hydraulic loading machine at Puxton Barns adjacent to his farmhouse when he temporarily left the vehicle to move something. The vehicle then unexpectedly moved forward, crushing 70-year-old Mr Mead.

It is not known what caused the loading machine to move forward. However, it is understood that Mr Mead’s pet dog may have been in the cab of the vehicle at the time of the accident.

It is thought that the dog may have accidentally knocked forward the gear stick while in the cab.

Mr Mead was found by his son Alistair who called the emergency services. Paramedics along with the air ambulance were called to the scene. Mr Mead had suffered a cardiac arrest. In a statement the Mead family, who have been farming in Somerset since the 1400s, described the death as a “terrible loss”.

In a statement the Mead family said: “It is with heavy hearts that we have to let you know that our father and grandfather, Derek Mead was killed in a tragic accident on his farm in North Somerset on the afternoon of Sunday 4th June 2017. “He was doing what he loved and has been doing since he was a young boy.

“The family thank you for all your kind messages during this time and would greatly appreciate it if you could allow us the time to come to terms with this terrible loss.” A spokesman for Great Western Ambulance Service said: “We received a call at 2.18pm to West Rolstone Road. “We attended with two rapid response vehicles, one ambulance and the air ambulance was also in attendance.”

An inquest into Mr Mead’s death is expected to be opened and adjourned tomorrow. The Health and Safety Executive is assisting the coroners’ office with their inquiries. Father of three Mr Mead was a leading businessman in North Somerset and a major landowner in the area. He was the managing director of Mead Realisations which owns Puxton Park. He also owned the Sedgemoor Auction Centre at junction 24 of the M5.

He was also a long term member of the National Farmers Union before resigning in 2010 in a protest at what he said was its failure to support dairy farmers. Mr Mead – described as the ‘farmers champion’ – farmed around 3,000 acres in North Somerset and also owned racehorses. Only last week he was taking part in the Bath and West Show at Shepton Mallet.

In recent years he had become heavily involved in local politics and was elected as an independent to Weston Town Council and North Somerset Council in 2013. He went on to help form the North Somerset First Independents group and was re-elected in 2015. He also led the charge to re-open the then dilapidated Tropicana, helping set up and acting as a spokesman for the Trop Trust.

Friend of 40 years John Vowles paid tribute to his lifelong friend. He said: “He was a marvellous bloke, one of the best people I know. “I am absolutely devastated at what has happened. “Derek was a great man and the farmers’ champion.”

This is the second farming tragedy to hit the Mead family. Mr Mead’s brother Roger was killed 30 years ago when his tractor overturned while he was out working on his land. Tributes have been paid to Mr Mead with friends describing him “a true gentleman” and “a great bloke”.

Conservative councillor Martin Williams said: “RIP Derek Mead. “We may have been on opposite sides of the council chamber but we always had a good laugh afterwards. “Every time you saw me you would shake my hand and tell me, ‘I’ll have you lot one day!’ “Legend, I’ll miss you loads mate. Sleep well. X.”

Another friend, Mike Coles, said: “Just had it confirmed that Derek Mead has been killed in a tractor accident. Such sad news. A true gent! RIP.” David Lock described Mr Mead’s death as a “tragic accident” and said: “Such a shock will be missed by so many was a great bloke! Thinking of the family at this sad time x”

Roystee Page described the farmer as “One of Weston-super-Mare’s most popular characters,” while Jayne Bodger said: “Noooooo. Such a character, not many left.” Lucy Vowles added: “A massive loss to so many but most of all our Dad. RIP you have so much to the farming community and beyond. X.”

North Somerset Council’s chief executive, Mike Jackson, said: “The tragic death of Councillor Derek Mead has come as a terrible shock to us all at North Somerset Council and we offer his family and friends our sincerest condolences.

“Councillor Mead had a range of business interests and was passionate about the area where he lived and worked. He had great energy and enthusiasm, always striving to make a difference in bringing growth to the local economy and never shrinking from challenging members and officers on behalf of his constituents.

“First elected as an Independent Member for Weston-super-Mare North Worle Ward from 25 July 2013, he was then elected as the North Somerset First Independents Member for the same ward from 7 May 2015 to date. He was an active member of the council’s audit committee and represented his ward in all planning matters.

“Councillor Mead also served as a local councillor for the Weston-super-Mare Town Council Ward of Worle East following election on 25 July 2013. “He was a larger than life character who will be greatly missed.”