Farmer’s joy after measuring highest rainfall for 50 years

John Butler, 87, has received a certificate and atlas from the Environment Agency. Picture: Peter Cripps
John Butler, 87, has received a certificate and atlas from the Environment Agency. Picture: Peter Cripps

A farmer has spoken of his joy after measuring his highest amount of rainfall in 50 years.

John Butler, 87, of Heaven Farm in Furners Green, near Horsted Keynes, has measured rainfall since 1965.

John has measured rainfall for the past 50 years. Picture: Peter Cripps

John has measured rainfall for the past 50 years. Picture: Peter Cripps

He farms across High Weald, Horsted Keynes, Scaynes Hill and Fletching.

During this time he has received a certificate and atlas from the Environment Agency (EA) for his long-standing work.

He said: “It was on Tuesday June 27, when it had chucked it down during the night. I recorded two inches – it is the most I have ever recorded. It was quite a moment for me.

“I couldn’t believe it, I thought a little boy had gone for a wee! It was an amazing amount of water. I was shocked. It was a month’s rainfall in one night.

John at Heaven Farm in Furners Green. Picture: Peter Cripps

John at Heaven Farm in Furners Green. Picture: Peter Cripps

“When I received the certificate I felt like I had not just been a number. It was quite an honour – it hangs in my office. I was proud as I have been doing it on my own all these years.”

John lives at Heaven Farm with his wife of 62 years, Margaret.

They have four children; Anne, 61, David, 59, Ruth. 57, and Robert, 54.

They also have seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

John farms across Mid Sussex. Picture: Peter Cripps

John farms across Mid Sussex. Picture: Peter Cripps

He said being a close family was how the farm had managed to succeed all this time.

“We work as a family and help each other out,” he added.

John decided to start measuring rainfall after an argument with the men he had employed in the sixties.

He now sends the measurements to the Environment Agency every month.

He said: “In farming it helps to know how much rain one has had. It is guidance to what work you can do. That is how it all began.

“We had an argument about how much the weather was going to affect the work, and that’s when I decided to measure the rain.

“I have been doing it ever since. I enjoy it and I am interested to see what we have each month. It has become part of my routine each morning.

“I have no plan on stopping, I would miss it if I stopped – it has become part of my life.”

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.