Obituary – Michael Williams

The British Guild of Agricultural Jouranlists reports that long standing member Michael Williams, has died at the age of 87. He was a well-known and much respected machinery journalist and author, and recipient of the Guild’s Netherthorpe Award in 2020 for an outstanding and sustained contribution to agricultural communications.

To his fellow machinery journalists, he was also a welcome companion at UK and overseas technical events, shows and press conferences, with an infectious giggle that revealed an endearing sense of humour.

Mike was a prolific author of books on vintage and classic tractors and other farm machinery, charting the early days of farm mechanisation through to the innovations of the 1990s, with numerous ‘collectors’ titles that also told the histories behind several of today’s well-known marques.

Keen to promote agriculture – and especially an interest in agricultural machinery to the next generation – Mike also wrote several books for young children and teenagers, all of which proved popular.

Having started his journalism career in Fleet Street and Farmers Weekly, Mike switched disciplines in the late 1960s by working at an equipment manufacturer – Howard Rotavator – for several years while maintaining his interest in writing by contributing freelance articles on the side.

The launch of the weekly title Farming News in 1982 gave him the opportunity to take up the machinery reporter’s pen and notebook full time once more, and enjoy friendly rivalry with his equivalent correspondents on Farmers Weekly and Big Farm Weekly for the best news ‘scoops’ and features.

Subsequently, he took up a full-time freelance career, contributing machinery feature articles to Farmers Weekly and the monthlies Farm Contractor and Farmers Guide, as well as titles overseas, and was delighted when his son, David, a fellow Guild member, followed in his footsteps by joining Farmers Guide as machinery editor.

Mike continued with his regular contributions to Farmers Guide and Farm Contractor in ‘retirement’ until shortly before his death in late September.