TRIBUTE has been paid to a Keighley Show stalwart who had been involved in the event since it began.

George Emmott, who was an internationally renowned shire horse breeder, has died aged 83.

His final journey, to the funeral service at St Stephen's Church in Steeton yesterday (November 24), was made on the back of a dray pulled by two black shire horses.

Mr Emmott was born into a farming family, the second of four brothers.

He was raised initially in Keighley and then subsequently at the family home – Far Laith Farm, Laycock.

Educated at Keighley's Highfield School, he was a promising young footballer.

Mr Emmott was married to Gladys in 1960 and two years later they moved to Currer Wood Farm, Steeton, where they still lived.

Friend Bob Whiteoak, Keighley Show vice chair, says: "George was a devoted family man and was immensely proud of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

"He started the Currer Wood Shire Stud with Lady – a foundation filly which grew into a big dappled grey mare, winning countless championships and producing many foals. Shires bred by George have been exported and exhibited all over the world.

"He was a perfectionist. Whether it be poultry, sheep, cattle or horses, he was a born stockman with a keen eye for quality."

Mr Whiteoak says George, for whom he had been a stud groom for 40 years, was a "tireless worker" for agricultural shows.

He adds: "A founder and life member of Keighley Show and a long-term committee member at Gargrave Show, over the years he was to serve as president of both."

Mr Emmott's many other roles had included a director of Craven Cattle Marts, a member of Cowling & Sutton National Farmers' Union, chair of Lothersdale Agricultural Discussion Group and membership of the Mule Sheep Society.

He also served for a lengthy period on the Shire Horse Society Council, and was a respected judge. Earlier this year, he was presented with a 50-year long service medal by the society.

"The names Currer Wood shires and George Emmott were – and still are – held in high esteem literally all over the world," Mr Whiteoak adds.

Mr Emmott introduced shire horse classes to Keighley Show.

He was still a member of the show's management committee and continued to take a strong interest in all aspects of the event.

He was president in 1998.