Astley tractor fanatic makes last journey in fitting manner

Leigh Journal: Jim Lester made his last journey in an open trailer pulled by a classic Massey Ferguson 35 tractor Jim Lester made his last journey in an open trailer pulled by a classic Massey Ferguson 35 tractor

A TRACTOR fanatic made his final journey in a very fitting manor.

The coffin of Jim Lester, who died from bronchial pneumonia, was transported from All Saints Church in Leigh to the cemetery on a vintage trailer pulled by a vintage tractor.

His friends and family decided it would be an apt way for Jim to travel as his love for the vehicles had seen him acquire and restore four tractors of his own.

Jim’s friend Bill Partington said: “Jimmy and I worked for the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in the 1960s and our job was to drive Fordson Major tractors and reclaim coal sites.

“We had to plough the land that had been used for opencast coal mines and get it back to green fields and countryside.”

Jim was born in Blackmoor, Astley. His early working life was spent on farms, before starting work at the Astley Green pit.

His big interest was cinemas and projectors and he worked as a projectionist for a while at the picture house known as the Kinema at Cross Hillock, Astley. From there he went to the Theatre Royal cinema in John Street, Tyldesley, where he showed the films for many years before joining the ministry.

Jim, who had lived in Astley all of his life, died on March 22 aged 76 when a chest infection he contracted while having a hip replacement developed into bronchial pneumonia.

“He broke his hip and went in for what we thought was a routine operation but he never made it out of the hospital,” Bill said.

“I’d known him a long time. He was a vintage tractor man, in his retirement it was his hobby to restore them, especially Massey Fergusons. It was a really fitting send off for a great fellow.”

Jimmy’s funeral was held at All Saints Church on Manchester Road and he was buried on Friday at Leigh Cemetery.

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