AN AWARD-WINNING ploughman and passionate stick dresser died aged 105 on Saturday.

Lawrence Batey died at Elm Bank Care on Home, Hexham, on February 2.

Born on November 4, 1913, he lived and went to school in Prudhoe before leaving at the age of 14, to work on local farms with his father.

As a teenager in 1928, he was working alongside his father on Keepwick Farm, near Chollerton. When his father had finished milking the cows, Lawrence was tasked with delivering all over Hexham.

In the early 1930s, he moved to Ovington Hall Farm, where he learned his hand in the horse-drawn plough and never looked back. After five years there, he sought out a career as an established ploughing contractor.

He cemented his reputation as a top practitioner in 1950 when he was named Northumberland’s champion ploughman and he went on to judge many a competition across the region himself.

During the late 1940s, he caught the eye of a senior manager from Ransomes, Sims and Jeffries Limited, then in its heyday as a manufacturer of agricultural machinery.

He then moved to Turpin’s Hill Farm, near Heddon-on-the-Wall, before taking on his last job, looking after the tractors at the Newcastle University-owned Nafferton Farm.

After his retirement in 1979, he allowed more time to exercise his passion for art and the local landscape. He spent many days painting Tyne Valley landscapes and the surrounding area.

His esteemed career took a turn after retirement at the age of 70 when he discovered the art of stick dressing.

He made his name all over again, this time at the agricultural shows where he was a favourite among the judges.

In 2006, he presented Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, with a matching pair of walking sticks, during their visit to Bellingham. As patron of the Border Stickdressers’ Association, His Royal Highness was delighted. Once he turned 100, a birthday card from the Queen became a regular occurrence and he even received a personal letter from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales on his 100th birthday.

A great-grandad and grandad, Lawrence was husband to the late Rita, father to daughter Phyllis and father-in-law of Gilbert.

Speaking on his 105th birthday last November, Phyllis described their relationship as “like two peas in a pod.”

Lawrence will be laid to rest at a private service on Tuesday, February 12. A service of thanksgiving will then take place at Hexham West End Methodist Church at 11.30am.