Willy Metcalfe “Nappa Bill”

A typical Dales’ man 

Willy Metcalfe was born at Nappa Hall, Askrigg, where he lived until he was 17. He at­tended Askrigg School, leaving six months early to fill the position of horseman at Nappa Hall. In 1939 he moved to Nappa Scar, where he lived for the rest of his life.

During the Second World War, he served in the Home Guard and he remembered witnessing the bomb blasts at Liver­pool illuminating the sky while he was on Askrigg Moor. In 1941, he met Freda and they married in August 1943.

In his younger days, he enjoyed fishing, shooting, hare and otter hunting and going on fox drives on the Bolton Estate.

He was a member of Askrigg Friendly Society, Bainbridge and District Motor Club and Upper Wensleydale Agricultural

FARMER: William Metcalfe

Discussion Group. He was the last chairman of the Wensleydale Harri­ers, a committee mem­ber for Semerwater Sports Association and was the president of Wensleydale Angling As­sociation. He enjoyed day trips with these organisa­tions, particularly to the TT Races.

In his later years, he enjoyed touring the North alongside his friend Bobby, covering many miles in a day and visiting places he had never been to before.

He initially farmed Dairy Shorthorns, mov­ing on to Friesians and then sheep and beef cat­tle. The farm is truly fam­ily-run; his youngest daughter Gill worked on the farm until she mar­ried John in 1974, with John frequently helping over the years.

In 1996, Mr Metcalfe’s youngest grandson, Stephen, began working full-time on the farm and will now take on the run­ning of the farm.

In his lifetime, Mr Met­calfe witnessed the biggest change in agri­culture with the move from horse-drawn to mechanised operations. His first tractor was a 20hp Little Grey Fergie.

In 1966, Mr Metcalfe bought his beloved Massey Fergusson 65 second-hand from Wood-hall Garage and immedi­ately drove it to Kirkby Fleetham to harvest straw.

He was a shareholder of Hawes and Leyburn auction marts and at­tended Hawes weekly until the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak. Howev­er, he still enjoyed hear­ing the weekly news.

He was a typical Dales character. He was able to recall bygone days easily and talked readily. He was always willing to help young people who were trying to start out in life.

WENSLEYDALE farmer William James Metcalfe died, 19 days short of his 90th birthday.

As the snowdrops at Nappa Hall were out on the day he was born, it was only fitting they were also out on the day of his funeral. The funeral cortege was led by Stephen, driving Mr Met­calfe’s 65 tractor, taking in one final trip past his land. Family members wore buttonholes made from Nappa snowdrops and a small posy was also placed on his coffin.

He is survived by Freda, daughters Ella and Gill, and grandchil­dren William, Stephen and Jane.

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The Dales