NEARLY 800 people joined the family of Barrie Heath, the farmer who died after a tractor accident in the village of Hanbury, near Droitwich, for a service to commemorate his life.

Mr Heath was killed a fortnight ago when a tractor he was driving fell into a slurry pit at Park Hall, while he was helping his son, Chris.

Held in a packed marquee at his home, Field Farm in the neighbouring village of Bradley Green, the service drew people from across the country.

Barrie Heath, aged 73, had been a popular and respected figure in the farming and hunting communities for more than half a century.

As snow showers swept across the Worcestershire countryside, the Rev Alistair Fuller, rector of Hanbury, said: "The death of Barrie Heath has left a gap in the community that may never be filled.

"He was one of those people you could always turn to for help and his smiling face and sense of fun will be greatly missed."

Mr Heath was a lifelong hunting enthusiast and during the 1980s was a joint master of the Worcestershire Hunt for six seasons.

The address was by another former Worcestershire joint master, Tony Seller.

The funeral service had been private. Mr Heath left a widow, Anne, two daughters, Shirley and Nicola, a son, Christopher, and four grandchildren.