A farm insurance inspector with Cornish Mutual has celebrated 40 years covering the west of the county.

Jeff Kincaid has been employed by the South West insurer since May 18, 1973, when – aged just 17 – he started on a salary of £49.40 a month.

The 57-year-old still has his original employment contract, which stated he had to work from 9.05am to 5.10pm, Monday to Friday.

In 1986 he moved from his office-based role to fill in as an inspector visiting Cornish farms after a colleague fell ill. He quickly took to the new duty and a position was created for him so he could continue on the road.

Since then, Jeff has travelled an estimated 500,000 miles visiting members on his patch, which takes in Redruth, Stithians, St Agnes and Feock.

Jeff said: “I love being out with people and feel lucky to have found something I enjoy as much as this. I’ve built up strong relationships and am trusted, which is really important to me. Some say I’m like a part of the family, and I’ve certainly been able to see people’s children grow up and have their own children. It is very rewarding.

“When I started at Cornish Mutual there were less than half the staff there are now, we weren’t computerised and it was obviously very different. But the heart of the company still hasn’t changed – it’s still about looking after our members, and I think I’ve got a brilliant job.”

Jeff has had his fair share of interesting call outs and visits during his four decades of service. He added: “Around 12 years ago I was in a farmyard, measuring out some buildings by pacing them. Suddenly, my right leg went down a hole, all the way up, in a sump that I hadn’t noticed. It was filthy water and the farmer froze waiting for my reaction. I’ll never forget the expression on his face.

“I laughed and he pulled me out, took me to his parlour and hosed me down. I had to borrow some trousers but he was quite a stout gentleman so they were very roomy. We got plenty of amusement from that one.”

Jeff intends to carry on in his role for a few more years before consigning his wellies to the shoerack.

Alan Goddard, managing director of Cornish Mutual, said: “Throughout his long career at Cornish Mutual, Jeff has gained a strong reputation for his dedication, friendliness and expertise – he encapsulates the ethos of the company.

“His skills and experience as a local inspector are invaluable and he has built up and nurtured relationships with members that span generations. His farmers’ needs are his priority and we are delighted to help him celebrate this momentous 40 year milestone.”

Based in Truro, Cornish Mutual has over 24,000 Members across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, employs more than 80 people and has a network of 25 local inspectors on the ground in the four counties.