Family pays tribute to granddad killed by bull

The late Martin Leverton.
The late Martin Leverton.

Tributes have been paid to a much loved cattle handler who died after being crushed by a bull at Gisburn Auction Mart.

Seventy-year-old John Leverton, who was known as “Martin” to his family and friends, was loading the animal into a wagon with a lorry driver at around 7-30am on Friday morning.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The former farmer had worked as a member of the yard staff for more than 20 years.

Martin’s son, Ian Leverton, posted a touching tribute to his father on Facebook, writing: “A wonderful man, husband to Audrey, dad, pops, granddad and friend, my dad Martin Leverton (John) who was seriously injured while doing the job he loved and passed away this morning. RIP dad.”

Martin was married to his wife Audrey for 49 years.

They farmed at Tosside and brought up their two sons Ian and David (Levy, to all who know him) whilst working on the farm.

The couple sold the farm in 1997, and moved to their dream home in Rimington. Martin became a relief milker and in 1998 began work at Gisburn Auction Mart.

His daughter-in-law Sharon Leverton told the Clitheroe Advertiser: “Martin loved this job, turning up no matter what! Even ill he would still refuse to miss a day’s work.

“Martin was a keen Subaru, World Rally, Colin McRae enthusiast. Purchasing his first Subaru was soon covered in stickers replicating the WRC Subaru car, even featuring LEVERTON in the window.

“His favourite pass time was to trawl through Ebay purchasing memorabilia from badges to parts of rally cars.”

She added: “Martin and Audrey would attend the World Rally Championship in Wales every year, taking their car to all the stages, meeting other rally enthusiasts and showing off his prized possession – his well polished Subaru.

“Martin and Audrey have taken part in several Colin McRae memorial drives, including the World record 30-mile convoy of Subarus which finished at Prodrive in Banbury and the estimated 1,100 cars spelt out the rally driver’s name.”

Martin leaves behind his wife Audrey, his son Ian and his wife Heather, his youngest son David (Levy) and his wife Sharon, as well as his grandchildren Jack, Charlie, Reece and Courtney.

“We are all devastated,” Sharon added. “He will be missed by family, friends and colleagues.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said on Friday: “We were called around 7-30am today following reports a man had been seriously injured in Gisburn.

“A 70-year-old man had been injured by a bull at Gisburn Auction Mart in Gisburn Road.

“Emergency services attended but sadly the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

“An investigation is underway and the Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

“This is being treated as a non-suspicious death and a file will be submitted to the coroner.”

Secretary and auctioneer of Gisburn Auction Marts Ltd, Richard Turner, said: “We are all very emotional and in a state of shock. It is a terrible tragedy. The driver of the wagon was very, very distraught.

“As far as we are concerned everything was in order. We follow strict guidelines laid down by the National Farming Union.

“We expect a health and safety and a police investigation.”

Member of Parliament for the Ribble Valley, Nigel Evans, said: “It is an awful tragedy. My condolences go to his family. In my 25 years an MP I haven’t heard of anything like this happening at the mart and I believe it has a good safety record despite many people attending the sales.”