A RESPECTED farmer who spearheaded the sporting success of a small, rural village has died, aged 86.

Percy Telfer, who farmed at Chapel Farm, in Stamfordham, was credited with being the leading light which saw Stamfordham Cricket Club win five trophies in the space of four years in the 1970s and the village football club enjoy county cup success in the early 1960s.

Mr Telfer, who lived with his wife Lorna following his retirement from breeding Holstein dairy cows, was a popular figure in the farming and sporting circles of the Tyne Valley.

Ian Harkness, the current vice president of Stamfordham Cricket Club, said Mr Telfer was a huge influence on young cricketers, like himself, breaking through in the 1970s, and he was the main reason the club won the West Tyne League titles in 1976, 1978 and 1979, and the cup in 1875 and 1976 - the first silverware the small club had scooped in their history.

Mr Harkness said: “First of all, he played football for Stamfordham when they won the Northumberland FA Minor Cup in 1962, which was a tremendous achievement for the village.

“At that time, he was a medium paced right arm bowler and he topped the West Tyne League bowling averages in 1961.

“Later on, he became captain in 1975 for five years, and that was the time when Stamfordham started to have some success. The team had a lot of young players coming through and he was like a father figure to them all.

“There were the likes of Henry Twizell, who went on to play for Gloucestershire, and we all went on to play at higher levels, and Percy was a big influence on us all.

“You knew how far to go with him but he kept us all in check. He was very competitive but always fair.”

Mr Telfer and his wife Lorna had four children; Percy, Peter, Judith and the late Gillian.

Mr Harkness said: “He was a family man and he was one of those blokes who no-one could ever say a bad word about him.

“He was just a level headed, calm and laid-back man. He was just a nice fellow.”

After a short illness, Mr Telfer died recently of heart failure. A funeral will be held next Saturday.