Farm burial fitting for a true son of the soil
Tributes have been paid to a popular Biddenden farmer who did things his way.
A HUGE gathering of friends and family is expected at the funeral of a beloved Biddenden farmer on Friday.
Dick Offen, 80, of Worsenden farm died suddenly at home last month.
His funeral at All Saints’ Church is expected to attract his many friends, including fellow farmers and members of the travelling community with whom he traded horses for years.
His daughter Heather Passmore said: “We’re expecting the funeral to be massive. His death was a hell of a shock to a lot of people.
“I’ve never seen so many grown men cry.”
Mr Offen lived at the farm all of his life, having been born there, as was his father before him.
He was one of five generations of the family to have attended the village school.
He kept cattle, sheep and chickens but had a particular love for horses.
He was a farmer his whole life, with a brief time spent as a fireman.
He married Ann in 1957 and had one daughter, Heather.
He leaves his wife, daughter and three grandchildren, Richard, Rhys and Clare, who runs Tascara fashion boutique in Tenterden.
Mrs Passmore said: “His love was his horses - we usually had about 60 to 80 horses around the farm.
“He attended Ashford cattle market since he was 14. If he ever missed a week we would get a phone call asking where he was.”
She added: “He was full of stories. We have asked people to send us stories or memories about him. We want to make a book up about him.
“He never had a holiday in his life and he couldn’t understand people who wanted one. He never spent more than a night away from here.
“He didn’t like the modern world - computers, mobile phones and traffic. He was very traditional.
“He was honest and everybody loved him.”
Among the guests at the funeral is a Welsh friend of Mr Offen’s who will bringing down her horse, Buzz, which Mr Offen sold her. It will pull the casket.
The service will be held at All Saints’ at 11.30am, with burial at the farm and a reception at the village hall afterwards.
Mrs Passmore said: “He will be buried at the farm so that they can still watch us from up above.”
Biddenden farmer Dick Offen