A 1959 Massey Fergusson tractor has been restored to its former glory in memory of John Austin.
John, who ran Austin’s Family Funeral Directors and designed and developed Harwood Park Crematorium, purchased the tractor in 1996. It was used to develop the memorial gardens at Harwood Park which have now become a sanctuary, where bereaved families can remember their loved ones in beautiful surroundings.
The Massey Fergusson 35 was one of John’s ‘toys’. Its registration number is TFO 827, which John always claimed stands for ‘The Funeral Office’.
Sadly, John passed away in April 2012. Several months prior to that Claire, John’s daughter, and the other company directors had arranged for the tractor to be refurbished as a surprise for John. He was, of course, never to see it.
However, last week, after nearly two years of painstaking work the completed tractor was presented to Jean, John’s widow. Jean was stunned and delighted as she had no idea that the work was being carried out.
The project was undertaken by agricultural restoration engineer, Kevin Read, in his workshop in Watton at Stone. It was completely dismantled, refurbished, reassembled and repainted in its original livery by Kevin. The tractor now also bears a brass plate in memory of John.
The reliable workhorse has been returned to Harwood Park, where it will continue to be used within the gardens.