A WELL-KNOWN Hereford dairy farmer who helped run a successful family business for many years has passed away peacefully, his family have said.

John Matthews, who ran the successful Bartonsham Farm Dairy alongside his father Stanley and then his children, Paul and Sarah, died at Lynhales nursing home, in Lyonshall, near Kington at the age of 81.

He was married to Cecelia Patricia Matthews née Lawrence in 1961 and they had three children Paul, Mark and Sarah, plus seven grandchildren.

A former Hereford Cathedral School pupil, Mr Matthews left education in 1956, to help establish Heggies butchers on the Whitecross roundabout with his father and Charles Heggie.


He left Heggies in 1961 to return to the dairy at Bartonsham Farm to work with his father.

During the 60s the dairy retailing business, which at that time still had some local deliveries being made via horse and cart, went from strength to strength.

During his time he built up the herd of cows to supply the dairy from the 100 or so at Bartonsham in the 60s to over 700 based in four locations by 2018.

On top of which he also bought milk from many local farmers to supply what had become a considerable dairy retailing operation.

It had grown from an area with a radius of 15 miles from Hereford City in the early days to over 60 miles.

His children Paul and Sarah still work in the family business, although the dairy was sold in 2021 and is now under the ownership of Cotteswold Dairy.

A keen sportsman, Mr Matthews rowed for Hereford Rowing Club at many regattas during the 60s and 70s where he acquired the nickname Slim.

A member and past chairman of Hereford Round Table it was during his time as money raising chairman for the organisation that he came up with and planned the first fireworks night on Hereford Racecourse in 1977, featuring on that very first occasion Orinoco the Womble as the celebrity guest.

The 2019 display was its 43rd year of raising money for good causes.

He was also heavily involved with the National Farmers Union for many years holding various honorary roles within the organisation.

The funeral service celebrating Mr Matthews' life will take place at the Church of St Michael and All Angels in Eaton Bishop, at 2pm on Saturday October 1.