Some sad news came through to me this morning that Ivor Gwatkin, father of cidermaker Denis Gwatkin had passed away in the night. Ivor, who was 85 and was known as Lester by family and friends alike, was a real character and always had a warm welcome for visitors at the farm, especially if you asked him questions to do with farming. On my first visit to the farm, almost 20 years ago, he showed me around the orchard, a bit bemused that anyone would be interested in the cider and perry made by his son! On subsequent visits we were shown his prize-winning turkeys, with their fantastic plumage, Ivor still had an interest in poultry right up to the end as only the other week I was in the car with him going to a local poultry show, although after driving around Pandy we eventually discovered we had the wrong date! Lester had found the rheas on the farm a bit too exotic for him though, he preferred his geese and turkeys to the odd-looking South American birds!
This year Gwatkin Cider celebrate 20 years of commercial cidermaking and only last month Ivor officiated at the opening of the new ciderhouse at the farm by cutting the ribbon at the opening ceremony and having a half with friends in the bar.
Above: Lester and Denis in the ciderhouseIvor had been a farmer all his life and had farmed not just at Abbeydore but also near Pontypool, where Denis was born.
Above: Ivor opening the new ciderhouse at the farm a few weeks ago
Ivor will be sadly missed by all who knew him and he leaves a wife, Iris, and two sons Denis and Eric.