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Robin Cradock

Published on 14th December 2011

Robin CradockNews has reached the Guild that freelance member Robin Cradock has died of a heart attack at his home in Darlington, County Durham, aged 63.

During his career in journalism, Robin was best known for his role as NFU press officer in the north east.

He was born in Lincolnshire and spent his early years in the county, attending Lincoln College (now the University of Lincoln) where his journalism studies were to become so important in forging a lifelong career as a journalist and broadcaster. 

Robin's first job in the media began in 1966 when he joined the reporting staff of the Ripon Gazette before switching to the Darlington & Stockton Times at the paper's Ripon office. Later, he had the opportunity to combine journalism skills with the love of agriculture and the countryside he inherited from his parents. First, as agriculture editor of a weekly newspaper back in his home county, and then by joining the editorial team at Farmers Guardian

Robin's strong interest in the church led to a role in the religious broadcasting team at BBC Radio Scotland based in Edinburgh in the 1970s. He continued his career in radio, working at BBC Radio Cleveland in Middlesbrough before taking on the role of regional public relations officer in north east for the National Farmers Union. 

Robin CradockRobin worked for the NFU in this role for 13 years from 1984, based in his adopted town of Darlington and becoming a familiar face on television and a recognisable voice on radio as he put forward the case for farmers in the north of England.

As a freelance, he regularly contributed news and feature articles to Farmers Weekly, the Yorkshire Post and Glasgow Herald amongst others, and his was a familiar face in the press room of the Great Yorkshire Show over the years.

Robin did have many and varied interests outside agriculture, however. For example, he was an active member of the Cleveland Search & Rescue Team in the 1970s, entertainment and press liaison manager for Darlington Show in the early ‘80s and a member of his local Parochial Church Councilfor 15 years.

Robin was married for 30 years to Helen, who died in May 2011, and they lived in Darlington all their married life. He is survived by their two children, Colette and Melissa, and also his mother, Mrs Minnie Cradock, who lives in Lincolnshire.

Richard Ellison, former NFU regional director, writes: “I was a colleague of Robin’s when he worked as the NFU’s North East regional public relations officer from 1984 until 1997, and also came across him regularly thereafter in his role as a freelance journalist.

"Robin had a deep love and understanding of agriculture and rural issues, which shone through in his writing and broadcasting. His death at a relatively early age, coming so soon after that of his wife Helen, has shocked us all. We will miss seeing Robin at agricultural shows and events throughout Yorkshire and the North East, and we extend our condolences to his family at this very sad time.”

Guild members are welcome to email recollections of Robin’s work to the website editor’s email.

Bruce Scholten: Sorry to learn my old friend Robin Cradock died. We had a nice Christmas visit with him and Helen in Darlington about 2009. I'm a Yank who's done intermittent ag journalism since moving to the UK in 1992 from Germany. Nobody helped me find my feet in the Northeast as much as Robin, especially during the years of the Great North Meet. I drifted into academia (studying family-scale dairy farming), but was always glad he was there to discuss farm policy. Robin is sorely missed.

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