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Dip in backing for farming's charity

PUBLISHED: 09:06 03 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

Support for farming's charity fell in Norfolk last year, according to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. The total fell by £11,000 on the previous year's £25,067 while Suffolk enjoyed a marked reversal in fortunes.

Support for farming's charity fell in Norfolk last year, according to the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. The total fell by £11,000 on the previous year's £25,067 while Suffolk enjoyed a marked reversal in fortunes. It had one of the biggest increases in England and Wales as 2005 income rose from £14,698 to £40,070. The total spent on beneficiaries in the two counties is about £100,000, so there is a fairly significant shortfall. No doubt, the Farmers' Ball, which takes place at the Norfolk showground later this month, will help to redress the balance for Norfolk's donations. At least Norfolk is more generous in supporting the industry's charity than the West and East Ridings of Yorkshire - just £13,000 was raised!

For the third year in a row, pink tractors will set out across the region to raise funds for research into breast cancer. The Ladies' Tractor Road Run is on Sunday, July 2. It starts from Airfield Farm, Topcroft, home of the 93rd Bomb Group Museum. The tractor drivers break for lunch at Gawdy Hall, Redenhall. Organiser Annie Chapman, of the Suffolk and Norfolk branch of the David Brown Tractor Club, is behind the event, which has raised £34,000 for Cancer Research. More details from Nicki on 01284 749467 or e-mail Nicola.stapleton@cancer.org.uk

Spend a day in the countryside as part of the Farm Sunday next weekend. Visitors will be welcome to Pates Farm, Wisbech Road, Tipsend, near Welney, on June 11, which is the home of Norfolk Essential Oils. Entry is free. The farm produces produces non-food essential oil crops like chamomile and lavender. It is open between 10.30am and 4pm. To book a place, contact Ken or Debra on 01354 638065.

A visit to one of the country's finest collections of vintage and veteran tractors takes place on Wednesday. Members of Stalham Farmers' Club have been invited by Paul Rackham, of Manor Farm, Bridgham, Thetford, to look at more than 200 machines. Then, members descend on the Angel, Larling, which features two images on either side of the pub sign, for a buffet. Afterwards, they tour Mr Rackham's beef unit with Philip Dale before learning about home-grown asparagus on Tim Jolly's Roudham farm. Members planning to come, please tell chairman Tim Papworth by Monday to help with catering. Call 01692 403064 or 07771 675416.

A fascinating topic will be discussed at the next meeting of the Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society at the Charing Cross Centre, Norwich, on Thursday, July 6 (7.30pm). The topic - the historic importance of manhole covers. Who was involved in building 19th century Norwich? Just like a trial of footsteps in mud, manhole covers can be followed around the terraced street of the city, giving a new insight into the lost construction sequence.

Deputy show director David Nunn revealed that one standholder has supported the Suffolk Agricultural Association for the past 125 years. Thurlow Nunn has had a stand at the show for almost two-thirds of the association's existence. It celebrated its 175th anniversary at its re-named showground, Trinity Park.

Leading sheep breeders, Mark and Helen Crane are hosting a 20th anniversary open day for the British Berrichon du Cher Society at their farm on Saturday, June 10. Sheep farmers are invited to tour the farm and inspect the prize-winning flock between 1pm and 5.30pm at Meadowbank, Carbrooke Lane, Shipdham. A number of trade stands are supporting the event, which also includes a lamb roast. Mr Crane, who won the Royal Show breed classes for several years, would appreciate numbers. Ring him on 01362 821440.

Former show director David Barker was taken aback by a request from an exhibitor at the Suffolk Show. He supplies straw for bedding the cattle at Trinity Park, which is the name of Suffolk Agricultural Association's showground on the edge of Ipswich. Mr Barker, who farms at Westhorpe, Stanton, and is a former chairman of the county NFU, was asked if he could supply some barley straw for a show stand. Would it be fire-retardant? Well, he could leave it out in the rain if that would help but why exactly was it needed. He never found out.

LEAF (Linking the Environment and Farming) holds a national farm open day on Sunday, June 11. More than 300 farms are taking part including 15 in Norfolk. To find the nearest farm, visit LEAF's website www.leafuk.org and follow the Farm Sunday signs. Andrew Thurston, of Morley Research Centre, will welcome visitors to Manor Farm, Morley, near Wymondham, between 2pm and 4.30pm. No doubt, many other farmers around the county will be inviting villagers to walk around their fields. Why not advertise an accompanied walk around the farm, starting off at a set time, looking at the crops and wildlife next Sunday?

It was quite an achievement for almost 200 members of two branches of the National Farmers' Union to keep a party secret from the guest of honour. After a dozen years, Charles Howden, Diss-based group secretary, is starting a new career as a management trainer. Friends planned entertainment after a clay pigeon shoot and hog roast at Manor Farm, Larling, by permission of Brian Stammers, but Mr Howden had no idea that a party was planned. It was organised by his highly-efficient business partner, Joanna Johnston, who has worked alongside him for the past 12 years covering the two NFu branches, East Harling and Attleborough and Diss and Harleston. He left the NFU yesterday with many regrets and friendship but was looking forward to a new challenge.

Auctioneer and former NFU branch chairman, Jeffery Bowles, gave a brief speech to thank Mr Howden for his unstinting efforts with Joanna Johnston, in reviving the fortunes of the branch over the years. He recalled that Charles was a talented stage performer but suggested that his rendition of "Lily the Pink" at Garboldisham village hall several years ago for farming's charity, the RABI, could be safely consigned to the musical scrapheap.

It was a job interview with a difference, recalled NFU group secretary Mr Howden. As he was driving to the Scole Inn, Scole, in 1994, he expected to be "grilled" by two or three farmers. When he walked into the room, the interview panel was larger than expected - 12 faces were ready to pose some tough questions. Fortunately, chairman Dick Mitchell took matters in hand and the right appointments were made - much to the genuine mutual advantage of the NFU and members.

One keen competitor was missed from the livestock lines at the Suffolk Show - Ralph Proctor, who has made a name as a dedicated exhibitor of the family's Holstein cattle. While father, Ken and mother, Rebecca, were assisted by their oldest son, Robert, to show the Airfield cattle from Shipdham, Ralph was tackling his final examination in agricultural engineering at Harper Adams, Shropshire. And to add insult to injury, it was Ralph's 20th birthday.

One of the leading dairy herds in East Norfolk, which has been transformed under the enthusiastic direction of Jonathan and Judy Deane, is to be dispersed this autumn. Mr Deane, of Manor Farm, Ingham, Stalham, has decided to get out of milk production and many of his top cattle will be sold. However, Judy plans to keep some of her beloved Bevin cows, which are likely to end up with nearby dairy farmers. The Ingham herd has enjoyed great success in recent years and Mr Deane has always been a lively exhibitor and made a significant contribution to the atmosphere in the cattle lines.

When Red Poll enthusiast Col Giles Crisp agreed to sponsor the breed society's young handler classes by paying a bonus to encourage exhibitors, he didn't count on such a keen response. His generous decision ensured that the first classes attracted plenty of interest from handlers who could add an extra £10 to their prize money. Col Crisp, of Uggleshall House, near Beccles, who runs a pedigree herd of some 35 Red Polls, was pleased that a dozen competitors took part. And, one member of his family, a great niece, Emily Towers Clark, aged nine, who took second place in the junior class, was thrilled by the extra money. She has travelled from her home in Northamptonshire to train Mr Crisp's Red Poll for the show ring.


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