By Ivor Traktor, Farming Correspondent (intern)
A Suffolk farmer has revealed he once caught a young Theresa May running through his wheat field.
Ian Day, who farms near Brandon, said he remembers the incident well because he had to grab the future prime minister by the scruff of her neck and take her to her father for punishment.
“He was a vicar, which surprised me, as I didn’t know daughters of clergymen could be quite so naughty as to run through a wheat field that didn’t belong to them.
“Do you know how much damage can be done to a field of wheat simply by running through it? Well, let me tell you – a lot.
“For a start, where you are running the wheat bends over, and it takes at least a day before it goes upright again. If you were to run up and down and across the field more than five thousand times, it would be flattened.”
Mr Day, 74, said he was harvesting the field next door on a sweltering July day back in 1964 when he saw a young girl sprinting through the wheat while waving her arms in the air in a deranged fashion.
“I jumped off the harvester and chased her. When I caught up with her she was entirely unapologetic and said only, ‘You don’t seem too pleased’.
“Too right, I was furious. I grabbed her by the scruff of her neck and dragged her to the nearby campsite where she was holidaying with her family.
“Imagine my surprise when a bloke wearing a dog collar answered the door. I was going to swear at him but managed to hold my tongue when I realised he was a vicar.
“He looked at his daughter – whom he said was nine – and said, ‘Theresa, you haven’t been running through wheat fields again, have you? What have I told you about that!’
“The father said I could take Theresa back to the farm to do some menial chores to make up for my devastated wheat crop.
“I took her to the yard and told her to clean out the stable. She kept looking at it, marvelling at how well built it was.
“She said, ‘This is a strong stable’, and then kept saying, ‘Strong and stable, strong and stable’ under her breath while she mucked out.
“She was clearly a troubled child, quite mad.”
Mr Day said he thought no more of the incident until 53 years later when the Prime Minister admitted in a television interview that the naughtiest thing she ever did as a child was run through fields of wheat.
“I was watching the news and I jumped up, scaring the life out of Mrs Day, who was doing the crossword.
“I put two and two together and realised immediately that young scamp called Theresa who ran through my field all those years ago was the Prime Minister when she was a kid.
“And Theresa May’s ridiculous ‘strong and stable’ general election message suddenly made sense.”
Downing Street refused to comment when contacted by the Suffolk Gazette today.