Obituary: Richard Makepeace, agricultural scientist and councillor

Richard Makepeace

Richard Makepeace

First published in News

FORMER councillor and agricultural scientist Richard Makepeace has died aged 76.

Mr Makepeace, who had Parkinson’s Disease, died on September 18.

He was the founder of Oxford Agricultural Consultants and served two terms on Cherwell District Council. He was also involved with Bicester Rugby Club for more than 40 years as a player, former captain, chairman, vice chairman and secretary.

During his rugby career he played for Wasps, Cambridge City and was capped for Oxfordshire.

Born in London, Mr Makepeace was evacuated to Shirley, in Birmingham, during the Second World War where he developed a life-long love of the countryside and was prompted to study agricultural botany at Reading University.

During his final year there he met Patricia, who he married and the couple had two children Jacqui, 48, and Ewan, 46.

After university Mr Makepeace completed National Service with the Royal Artillery as a second lieutenant and was based in Germany.

He went on to work for chemical and pharmaceutical company firm Bayer, based in East Anglia, where he carried out pesticide trials.

He moved to Oxfordshire in the late 1960s to work for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, at Yarnton, near Kidlington, as a scientific senior officer, and later principal scientific officer. There he specialised in the registration of agricultural chemicals.

The Makepeace family, who live in Lower Heyford, near Bicester, also ran a canal boat hire business, initially from home and later Castle Mill Boat Yard, Oxford, for more than a decade until 1981.

When the Government decided to close the Yarnton centre, Mr Makepeace set up his own agricultural consultancy, Oxford Agricultural Consultants Ltd, in 1984. He retired in 2009. During his career Mr Makepeace wrote many papers on plant sciences and co-authored the Weed Control Handbook.

Mrs Makepeace said: “He was a very busy man, full of life. He threw himself wholeheartedly into everything that came his way. He was very benevolent and very supportive of young people. He loved taking on young people and giving them the opportunities he feels he had. He was a lovely, lovely man, very special.”

President of Bicester Rugby Club John Deeley said: “He was well thought of at the rugby club, nothing was too much trouble for him.”

Mr Makepeace, a Liberal Democrat, represented the Heyford Ward, then the Astons and Heyford after boundary changes, between 1999 and 2007.

Councillor James Macnamara, who represents the Astons and Heyfords ward, said: “Dick Makepeace pretty much defined what a rural councillor should be.

“He knew the villages and people like the back of his hand, cared deeply about their welfare and worked tirelessly for them.”

Mr Makepeace, who has five grandchildren, was a keen runner, a member of Alchester Running Club/Bicester Road Runners, and had completed seven London marathons.

He was a former chairman of the North Oxfordshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale, and also heavily involved in his local community – he was chairman of Lower Heyford Village Hall committee, the village events group and relief charity.

A service of thanksgiving will take place at St Mary’s Church, Lower Heyford, today at 2pm.

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