Community honours dedicated Darley man for his service

Keith Hardcastle shows off a piglett to Daniel Swires at the Young Farmers County Show in 2011.
Keith Hardcastle shows off a piglett to Daniel Swires at the Young Farmers County Show in 2011.

A Darley man has owed his success to his family and thanked his friends for the recognition, after he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his community service in the Queen’s birthday honours.

Livestock farmer, Keith Hardcastle, 71, still lives in the house he was born in, and has dedicated his life to a number of community roles, all while supporting his wife and four daughters.

From sitting on the parish council, to setting up Christmas decorations, and being a committee member of the young farmers to chairing the Nidderdale Show, in the last 50 years Mr Hardcastle has helped in every way he can.

He said: “I feel very proud to have got it but it’s not just for me, it’s for my wife as well because I couldn’t have done it without her. She’s my right-hand man both as my partner and in the rest of my life. I couldn’t have done it without my wife and my daughters.

“It’s really nice for someone to appreciate what I have done, I have just done it normally over my life, not tried to do anything special and just tried to help people and now somebody has said thank you."

Keith’s roles in the community started through his own personal social interest in sitting on a number of farming-related committees.

As his life started to develop, both in terms of his family and his business, he said he just made time to do it all, otherwise it wouldn’t have been done.

Keith said: “I was on the show committee, the parish council, a committee member at the village hall and at the young farmers when I was in my 30s running a farm with four daughters - and people say they don’t have time to do anything.”

Keith was nominated for the BEM by the clerk of Darley Parish Council, Sue Welch.

She said: “I have only been in Darley for the past eight-and-a-half years, but I could not fail to notice how involved Keith is – particularly in running the Memorial Hall and as a parish councillor.

“Both of these roles have been on-going for 40 years or more and he is still continuing.”

Keith’s family also commended him on his honours with his daughter, Kirsty Clarke, claiming she was one incredibly proud daughter.

She said: “He is passionate about his village, his family and the community. He wants to drive everyone to be better and will do whatever is needed. I am so proud, as are my sisters and mum, that my dad’s commitments have been recognised.”