Footpath name is tribute to tragic Clanfield farmer

REMEMBERED Ian Rook
REMEMBERED Ian Rook
Picture: Paul Jacobs (142476-229) PPP-140824-032155001

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HE offered a helping hand to anyone in need. Now villagers are paying their own touching tribute to kind-hearted farmer Ian Rook by naming a footpath after him.

It is hoped the path through fields in Clanfield will help improve safety for pedestrians.

As previously reported, the 58-year-old dad-of-two, of Manor Farm, North Lane, Clanfield, was killed in November 2010 when he was attacked by a bull on his farm.

Mr Rook was a supporter of creating a safe off-road path for villagers as they walk north to The Hampshire Hog pub.

Over the years people have walked along Chalton Lane or Petersfield Lane, where traffic can be busy and there is no pavement.

The landowner Richard White and the Rook family, the tenants who farm the land, agreed for the old medieval track that runs through fields to become a permissive footpath. It runs from Green Lane north to the roundabout near the A3.

It will be called Rook’s Way, in tribute to Ian and his family, who have farmed the land for decades.

Brian Ahern, chairman of Clanfield Parish Council, which is leading the scheme, said: ‘I thought it would be a nice way of commemorating Ian and the family. He was always great in the village.

‘I live right opposite Ian’s farm. Whenever there was a problem in the village, it was Manor Farm you turned to for help.

‘If it was clearing snow, he was there with the tractor and snow plough. When we were doing the pond, he helped.’

Mr Rook, who was a former chairman of the Hampshire branch of the National Farmers’ Union, was featured in The News in January 2010 when he helped clear snow from The Rowans Hospice’s car park and gave stranded staff lifts home.

Mr Ahern said: ‘He appreciated it was dangerous to get up to the pub and people wanted to be able to walk out of the village safely.’

Around £400 will be spent on signs for the new footpath.

The path will be open year-round apart from one day when it will be closed.

This is required by law to show the land is still owned privately.