John Edgar 1922 - 1970
John Edgar was a unique Hampshire farmer who inspired all those young and old with whom he came in contact and set an example few could follow. He strove for excellence in every thing he did and would never settle for second best. He died a young man of only 48 but by his fine example he became a legend in his own life time. Hampshire had lost a great man and his many friends who wished to perpetuate his work, his ideals, and to recognise his mammoth contribution to agriculture launched a very successful memorial appeal which lead to the establishment of the John Edgar Trust.
John was born the son of Fred and Dorothy Edgar who farmed at New Milton. He was only 12 when his own father died in 1933 but fortunately his mother carried on the farming and developed a milk retailing business in the New Milton and Lymington areas. He excelled in his school education and sport at Churchers College Petersfield, already right in the action and laying the foundation for his great interest in sport in later years and particularly cricket.
He left school and may well have become an estate agent as he had not been encouraged to be a farmer by his parents, but the love of the land was overpowering. After a short pupilship with the legendary Tom Parker at Fareham in 1941, he returned home to the 750 acre farm at New Milton together with the dairy business and shops at Milford and Highcliff. The Second World War was at its height and John quickly established himself as a farmer and businessman par excellence.
Demands were made on his time and he accepted more and more public work. He was the youngest Chairman ever of the Brockenhurst Branch of the NFU and he later became Hampshire delegate at NFU headquarters in London. He served as a member of the NFU Development Company and was a member of the Agriculture Improvement Council for England and Wales. Sadly only indifferent health prevented him from taking higher office. His commercial vision saw him as a founder member and Vice-Chairman of the Hampshire Cattle Breeders’ Society and Chairman of the all-important Bull selection Committee. He was invited to be a member of the Hampshire Agricultural Executive Committee and soon Vice- Chairman of SCATS Ltd. and was a founder member for the Central Council of Growmore Clubs.
The Fareham and Hants Farmers Club, amongst many other organisations attracted his attention. When President and Chairman of Council, he re-organised the existing format of the old show and Stallion Travelling Society to a modern Club. The very successful Farms Competition benefited from his organising ability and such was the quality and standard of his own farming he consistently featured as the championship prize winner on many occasions for the Best managed farm in Hampshire.
As a former President of the New Milton Chamber of Trade, an active member of the Avon and Stour Agricultural Society and a former Chairman of the Grasshoppers, these organisations were all lucky to have his support and wise council. He always took a great interest in the Young Farmers movement and particularly to young men starting in farming. His perfection and attention to detail which was evident on his own farms, together with his sound knowledge and good judgement of all stock was an inspiration to all.
On 20 February 1970, John died suddenly and the agricultural world was very shocked and a deep expression of sympathy went out to his young family, and to Angela, his wife who has since its foundation served as Chairman of the Trust established in his name. His friendship and warmth of his infectious personality were irreplaceable, but the John Edgar Trust perpetuates his memory and continues his lifelong work of promoting excellence in farming and rural businesses in southern England.