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19/02/2012: My Grandfather, a Gambling Gentleman of Cork

Eugene, my grandfather, the sixteenth Squire Farkham was something of a black sheep in the family. At the time, Farkham Hall was situated in Crowle, near Scunthorpe. Eugene had been born in Cork out of wedlock to the benefactor of the Farkham Institute of Science and Technology (F.I.S.T.). It seems that great grandfather was generous in so many other ways too, which meant that his only heir apparent was not based in the immediate area of the Hall. Eugene arrived in England towards the end of the 19th century to take over management of Farkham Hall, its thriving farm and associated estates. During his stewardship and through the first world war, the farm continued to make good profits and all seemed fair for his young family.

Sadly, after the war, his passion for the turf took a serious hold and this sporting Irish gentleman took to driving his new Darraq car to the races at Doncaster on increasingly frequent occasions. If passion and enthusiasm were the things that helped you pick winners, then Eugene would have been the bookies' worst enemy. Sadly, knowledge, skill and luck all play a part. Eugene was not blessed with any of these. Mounting debts and spectacular bets in increasingly wild attempts to break even put such pressure on the family coffers that the farm had to be sold in order to pay creditors. Luckily, Great grandfather had the foresight to put the Hall and associated research institute funds in trust, so that much at least survived, albeit in increasingly sorry stated of disrepair. Eugene died a broken man in the early 1930s not long after the birth of my mother. The farm is now the BP Neap House Oil Refinery and the family has never recovered financially. One of my most dearly held ambitions is to find his grave, dig him up and give his bones the sound kicking they richly deserve. If anyone had sold that farm to BP it should have been yours truly. Funny old life eh£

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