Today is a day to remember for Lincolnshire’s own ‘Farmer Wink’, as he makes a first-ever rail journey for a capital day out by train.
The 64-year old from Minting, real name Robert Carlton, became a local celebrity after making regular appearances on BBC Radio Lincolnshire, discussing everything from agricultural matters to preserving the county’s traditional dialect.
During a live radio broadcast from the Lincolnshire County Show last month, the countryman confessed to presenter William Wright that he’d never set foot on a train in his life – and had only ever been to London on the back of a potato lorry.
Inspired by his story, the radio station and East Coast Trains teamed up to whisk ‘Farmer Wink’ to London in First Class style on-board this morning’s 7.20am train direct from Lincoln to London King’s Cross, for a packed day in the big city.
East Coast Guard Dan Webster made a special announcement this morning to welcome ‘Farmer Wink’ onto the railway for the very first time, and presented him with his own king-size ticket as a memento of his first ever train journey.
His packed itinerary in the capital includes a photo stop on the steps of 10 Downing Street, a live appearance on BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine lunchtime show, a visit to Borough Market to see Lincolnshire produce on display, and a trip to the top of western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard.
64-year-old ‘Farmer Wink’, has worked on the same farm for 48 years, and has rarely been more than 30 miles from his home village.
BBC Radio Lincolnshire drivetime presenter William Wright said: “Farmer Wink is a hugely popular figure with our listeners thanks to his regular appearances on-air. When he told me he’d never been on a train, I offered to go with him and follow his first ever journey and that’s how it all started.
“We’re following his progress throughout the day, including a photo on the front steps of 10 Downing Street, a visit to Broadcasting House and a trip to the top of The Shard, and of course that first ever train journey courtesy of East Coast.”
East Coast spokesman Richard Salkeld said: “When we heard about Farmer Wink’s story, we were happy to invite him to enjoy a return journey with us on our direct Lincoln to London service.
“We hope he’ll be impressed by the home comforts we’re providing during his journeys to and from London, and perhaps becomes a regular customer on our route.”
A camera crew from BBC Look North is also be on hand to capture the famous farmer’s big day out and viewers in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire can follow his travels on BBC One from 18.30 this evening.