Farmer Pete leaves lasting legacy at Graves Park Animal Farm
A farmer who has worked tirelessly at a popular Sheffield animal park is retiring after 21 years in the job.
Pete Fletcher, aged 65, started working as a stockman at Graves Park Animal Farm in 1995.
He said when he first joined the farm it was a ‘low key’ affair – but it now has half a million visitors a year.
Pete worked his way up the career ladder before becoming the farm’s general manager.
He was very much a ‘hands-on’ manger, checking on the animals every day on his way into work – his favourite being the ‘beautiful’ highland cattle.
And Pete, of Harthill in Rotherham, will not be taking it easy in retirement as he owns a herd of highland cattle as well as some sheep – and he will also be running around after his two-year-old grandson Arthur.
He said: “It’s not the pipe and slippers for me. I have my own animals. My whole life revolves around farming, it’s not just a job to me.
“It’s so enjoyable and rewarding, you might get a wet day in the winter, but you make up for it in the summer. I enjoy working outside with nature.”
The father-of-two said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family, especially his wife Renate. He said without her, he would probably not be where he is today.
Pete said: “Behind every good man is a good woman and she puts up with my affliction of being a farmer, she’s been a great help.”
During his lengthy stint at the helm of the farm, Pete said the annual Highland Fling County Fair is his standout achievement.
The event is one if the biggest bashes in Sheffield’s outdoor events calendar and has attracted more than 15,000 people in recent years.
Pete said: “I came up with the idea for the event and when everybody is in the park, when it’s sunny, and full of families enjoying the animals it’s just great to see.”
Another of Pete’s legacies will be the education of thousands of Sheffield children and their families.
He said: “I hope people understand more where food comes from. You take that for granted as a farmer. I wanted to explain that there is something beyond the supermarket.”