Popular Melton land agent retires after 39 years’ service

Jonathan Stebbing of the Ernest Cook Trust.
Jonathan Stebbing of the Ernest Cook Trust.
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A well known land agent is retiring after 39 years with land-owning education charity the Ernest Cook Trust.

Jonathan Stebbing, based at the trust’s Little Dalby Estate near Melton Mowbray, joined the agency in 1978 after starting his career at Strutt & Parker in London.

He rose to become Deputy Land Agent, jointly responsible for the day-to-day running of the ECT’s nine country estates. The trust plans to plant 40 trees on the estate in tribute to his long service.

He said: “I’m very fortunate to have a job I’ve always wanted to do, and to manage estates in outstanding countryside and be able to work with excellent farm tenants, members of staff, land agents and trustees who have become good friends. I will miss it greatly.”

During his career, Mr Stebbing has seen many changes in farming and in the expansion of the trust’s land holdings and education funding.

Trust chief executive Victoria Edwards told guests at a farewell lunch in his honour: “Working for the Ernest Cook Trust has never been just a job for Jonathan - it’s been his vocation.

“He has detailed knowledge of every field, every ditch, every acre of every farm. His loyalty to and love of the trust and all its assets and communities is unquestionable.

“This has been apparent to successions of trustees who have all been very grateful for his stewardship.”