A leading Norfolk agricultural charity, the Clan Trust, has continued to support projects to benefit young and old alike, members were told at the latest annual “feast”.

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The charity’s founder, east Norfolk farmer Rob Alston, directed that the trustees and directors should also hold an annual dinner for supporters and guests who have helped to promote the aims and objectives.

Chartered accountant Stephen Oldfield, chairman, who proposed the toast a fraction after 9pm – in accordance with the late Uncle Rob’s wishes – said the charity had redoubled its efforts to encourage young people into food, farming and agriculture. As a result, it had been decided to hold the “feast” at the City College Norwich’s Debut Restaurant.

A team of young chefs, led by Steve Thorpe, was invited to cook and serve a meal of fresh, local produce complete with quality English red and white wine. All the ingredients, under the direction of Breckland farmer and cook Mary Kemp, were sourced locally and included asparagus from Crane & Sons, of Wood Farm, Marsham, and Norfolk lamb from Papworth Farms, of Lodge Farm, Felmingham, near North Walsham.

The hotel and catering students, who normally work in the restaurant through the week, came in for an extra session to serve the 50-strong party.

Mr Oldfield said the trust had enjoyed a good year, partly boosted by the recovery in the value of investments. It had made it possible to continue to support a range of good causes including the Norfolk Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs. While the trust was keen to support young people, he stressed that “Uncle Rob” had been equally keen to provide help for the elderly too.

He thanked the administrator Rob Hughes and also James Paterson and Tim Papworth, who were looking after the farms.

And the charity, which had been founded in 1968, had also provided launch funding for the YANA (You Are Not Alone) project.

It has continued to go from strength to strength and had recently extended its reach into Suffolk as well as making information available through its website. He told the gathering that the charity continued to offer financial support but had no further involvement.

In the latest project to raise awareness, YANA has produced tax disc holders, which will be available from agricultural engineers and secondhand machinery dealers. YANA’s administrator, Maxine, said some of the first batch of 500 discs will be available at next week’s Suffolk Show and also at the Royal Norfolk Show later next month. They have been sponsored by chartered accountants M & A PArtners.

One of the first batch of discs, which were delivered earlier this week, have already been placed in tractors and sprayers by Clan Trust director and farmer James Alston, of Silfield, near Dereham.

“I’m hoping that this idea will be fully supported across the whole agricultural industry,” he added. With the message, “Depression is an illness not a weakness,” it offers confidential support for the farming community by calling 0300 323 0400.

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