Former Guild member Ted Fellows, who was editor of Farmers Weekly, Crops and Power Farming during a long career in agricultural journalism, passed peacefully away at his home in Painswick, Glos on February 23, aged 80, following a long illness.
He is sadly missed by wife Christine and sons Trevor, Simon and Christopher.
A thanksgiving service in memory of his great life was attended by a number of past and present Guild members and former colleagues, including Debbie Beaton, Shirley MacMillan, David Cousins and Peter Hill, Nick Bond and Ian Marshall, and from the Crops magazine launch team Chris Endacott and David Jones.
In the following tribute, Debbie Beaton recalls Ted as an editor with fresh ideas and a determination to provide ‘must read’ technical articles and news features.
He started writing for the national farming press in 1955 when he was a farmworker and relief milker. He joined Farmer and Stockbreeder in 1957 and quickly made a reputation for being more interested in the practical and technical side of farming, than politics and personalities.
Ted had no formal journalism training, but he did possess a natural writing flair that could entertain, enthral and engage readers. In 1973, he was the first writer to receive the Guild’s now long-standing Perkins Power on the Farm writing award. Ted was instrumental in bringing technical detail to life in Power Farming as editor and went on to become Farmers Weekly’s deputy editor before launching Crops magazine in 1984.
On Crops, he pioneered the use of colour photography and innovative design as well as focussing on highly technical, detailed and practical content for arable farmers.
When Ted then became editor of Farmers Weekly in the 1990s he pushed its news coverage to include analytical and challenging features, such as on the aftermath in Britain of the Chernobyl nuclear power station explosion. He also reported after the war from the Falkland Islands, where his son Trevor served, to write a memorable tale of the impact on the farming community.
After his retirement from the editor’s chair, he continued to edit and write, working on projects alongside his son Simon and daughter-in-law Jo for their publishing enterprise in Gloucestershire.
To add a personal tribute or memory, email here.
I was really sorry to see that Ted has gone. I joined him at Farmers Weekly as Business Editor in 1989 and, along with John Harvey, Debbie Beaton and many others, I found him to be an inspirational editor, with a wide vision of the potential for the magazine, and as someone who had great respect for the interests and abilities of his team. It it is hard to accept that he is no longer with us. John Rennie, Natural England
Sad to hear about Ted passing away. He gave me the job of sub editor at Reed on Stock magazine in 1988 and was still editor of Farmers Weekly when I moved over to it a year or so later. Ted was a big, bluff character and the last of the old-style editors. He was always ready to listen to the subs desk, for which we were all grateful. He’ll be missed. Lester Wilson
Ted was my mentor and friend when I started at Farmers Weekly. Such a lovely man. Mick Roberts, freelance
I was sad to hear of the passing of Ted Fellows. He was deputy to then-editor of Farmers Weekly, Denis Chamberlain, when I joined FW as chief sub-editor in 1982. He was an engaging and charming man, and his rubicund complexion and general demeanour gave out a strong farming image. Because we were both ‘new boys’ Ted often found time to discuss production and other issues and he was often more sympathetic to my department’s problems than might have been expected. When he left to start up Crops magazine, he asked me to join him but I declined – although I often thought it could have been much more fun than staying where I was. Ted returned to Farmers Weekly as editor in 1987 and he was always pleasant and constructive to work with. He was a true gentleman and it was always a pleasure to be in his company. Jim Evans (Chief sub-editor, Farmers Weekly (1982-2002)