Retired freelance journalist Sam Luckin, who died in March aged 85, has been described by Guild members as an eternal enthusiast, a great character and a true gentleman.
Guild charitable trust treasurer Diane Montague said: “I remember him as very much part of the agricultural PR scene over many years. He was always cheerful with a ready smile, and kind, courteous, helpful and interested in other people.”
Peter Samuel Luckin, always known as Sam, was born to a farming family and went to Felsted School in Essex.
Later, he was commissioned into the Essex Regiment as a National Service officer in 1957, being posted to the 1st Battalion in Dortmund, Germany where he was a platoon commander.
Upon completing his national service, during which he made 45 parachute jumps, Sam became involved in the family farming business before taking a change of direction by becoming a public relations consultant and freelance journalist.
In addition to being an enthusiastic member of the Guild, Sam was a Fellow of the Institute for Public Relations and he wrote extensively on agricultural and horticultural matters throughout his life for titles such as Farm Business, Vegetable Grower, Fruit Grower and Commercial Greenhouse Grower.
Among his PR ‘wins’ was the launch of Government advisory service ADAS as a commercial business and the introduction of Valmet (now Valtra) tractors in Britain.
Guild chaplain Geoff Dodgson, said: “So sad to hear of Sam’s passing; I have fond memories of lengthy discussions with Sam over many years. May he rest in peace.”
Ben Pike, Guild deputy chairman, recalls: “Sam was a passionate member of the Guild and one of the first people to alert me to its existence. He used to call us monthly when I was on NFU Countryside magazine to pitch horticultural articles, always wanting to write under the name Bill Sherer; I never did find out why.”
“Yes, his nom de plume,” recalls Catherine Linch. “Not a term I’d ever heard used commonly before or since!”
Harry Mitchell also credits Sam for introducing him to the Guild. “He was always up for a coffee and chat at The Farmers Club, and I too think fondly of his reference to ‘nom de plume’…it always made me smile.”
Cedric Porter remembers Sam’s enthusiastic support for Farm Business when it was launched, and discovered at his funeral that the nom de plume (pen name) was one of his masters at school, while Charles Abel summed up: “Sad news about Sam – a true gentleman, great personality and eternal enthusiast. He will be greatly missed.”
Johann Tasker learned of an unexpected connection at Sam’s ’80 not out’ birthday celebration at The Farmers Club in 2018, when he insisted that Lord Fowler, the former Times journalists and Tory minister, who was at the time Speaker of the House of Lords, would be dropping in.
“Both Essex boys, Sam had served with Lord Fowler in the Essex Regiment and they had kept in contact ever since. He remained a ‘no show’ at the party as the evening wore on and guests began to drift away but Sam was insistent he would turn up – and much to everyone’s delight he did, making a detour on his way home from the opera to wish Sam a happy birthday in person and have a good catch-up.”