Cattle farmer who was 'known across the country' dies aged 79

John Leslie Fox sitting in an arm chair in his suit

John Leslie Fox died on November 3, aged 79 - Credit: SUPPLIED

Tributes have been paid to a much-loved cattle dealer and “Norfolk character” who has died aged 79. 

John Leslie Fox, who was well-known throughout the country and Ireland, was born into a family of renowned cattle dealers in January 1941 in Framingham Pigot, near Norwich.

He went to his first cattle sale in Wales with his grandfather, Harry Fox, who had him fitted with a three-piece suit from Jarrolds. 

From that moment his life revolved around travelling the country buying and selling cattle, and many other things he could lay his hands on at sales and fairs. 

Originally part of the family business, he went into partnership with Tony Key and had many successful years buying and selling large quantities of cattle. 


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He then worked for Rip Harvey but after BSE, commonly known as mad cow disease, he continued to cattle deal but on a smaller scale up until his death on November 3. This year, he sold 60 cattle to fast-food chain McDonalds. 

In semi-retirement, he drove a lorry for his closest friend, Steve Jordan, delivering fencing across East Anglia while still wearing his three-piece suit - much to the bemusement of site workers. 

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Mr Jordan said: "Together, we travelled the country and there was nowhere where John would not know something, or they would know him. 

"John was a well-loved character who would never be happier than having a deal for anything. A lot of this trade took place in public houses, and he often would regale his stories to the great interest of locals. 

"He will be sorely missed." 

Mr Fox and his partner, Wendy, who died in 2019, spent their last 20 years together at Valley Farm, Earsham, near Bungay, where they enjoyed their cattle and the Waveney Valley.  

Loved ones have described Mr Fox as having "died of a broken heart". 

He leaves his granddaughter Jessie, a veterinary assistant who also has a great love for farming and country life. 

The funeral will take place on Friday, December 11. 

A team of horses will bring Mr Fox to the Queen’s Head pub, Earsham, at 10.45am, where a toast will be raised at 11.15am. A procession will then walk to All Saint’s Church. Mourners are to observe social distancing at all times.  

Flowers to be sent to Rosedale Funeral Services, in Bungay. 

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