Wife finds farmer shot dead in field

Feb 20 2002 By Andrew Forgave And Emyr Williams, Daily Post

A POPULAR farmer has been found dead next to a shotgun on the anniversary of the foot-andmouth outbreak.

Mystery surrounds the circumstances leading to the death of Thomas Robyn Pryce, 41.

The Montgomeryshire farmer's body was discovered by his wife Christine in a field near his home at Brook House Farm, Hyssington, Churchstoke, near Welshpool, late on Sunday afternoon.

It is believed that Mr Pryce, the last remaining beef and sheep farmer in Hyssington, had grabbed his shotgun at lunchtime after spotting a fox near his farmyard.

He was later found next to a fence with gunshot wounds to his chest.

Brook House Farm was placed under Form D movement restrictions last year when Churchstoke became a foot-and-mouth hotspot.

Mr Pryce was prevented from moving his stock and, during the lambing season, was forced to live in a caravan because he could not take newborns back to the farm. Producers like him were described as the "forgotten farmers" as they lost their incomes, suffered extra costs, but received no compensation.

His circumstances came to the attention of the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, when she was presented with a diary written by Mr Pryce's 10-yearold daughter Ellie.

She had written a column for an evening newspaper detailing how the family's lives had been affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis.

Mr Pryce, brought up locally, was last night described by friends as an outgoing character who frequently played the part of a panto dame with the Cordon Amateur Dramatics Society.

In the society's last production he was joined by his wife and two daughters, Ellie and Emily, five.

Local people said they were not aware that Mr Pryce had any serious financial problems as a result of foot-andmouth restrictions.

The Vicar of St Etheldred's Church in Churchstoke, Rev Terrence Bryan, who had known Mr Pryce for 22 years, said: "Robyn's death sent ripples through the community. It is very sad indeed. The local community has reacted terribly to this. He was quite a pillar of society.

"Robyn was a lovely family man, a genuine fellow who was very popular, well-known and liked."

A post mortem has already taken place and Powys coroner John Hollis is expected to open the inquest today, adjourning the full inquest to a later date.

The Government's Lessons Learned Inquiry into foot-andmouth, headed by Dr Iain Anderson, arrives in Anglesey today for an invitation-only meeting. Farm leaders, politicans and farmers meet at Llangefni town hall at 9.30am to put their views.