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Influential farming figures awarded Royal Norfolk Show honours

PUBLISHED: 06:28 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 06:28 02 October 2020

Jake Fiennes (left) has won the 2020 Sir Timothy Colman Prize, and Moira Harrison (right) has been awarded a Life Fellowship of the Royal Norfolk Show. Pictures: Carl Ellis / Norfolk YFC

Jake Fiennes (left) has won the 2020 Sir Timothy Colman Prize, and Moira Harrison (right) has been awarded a Life Fellowship of the Royal Norfolk Show. Pictures: Carl Ellis / Norfolk YFC

Carl Ellis / Norfolk YFC

Two influential stalwarts of Norfolk’s farming community have been honoured for their valuable contributions to agriculture and the countryside.

Jake Fiennes, head of conservation at the Holkham Estate. Picture: Carl EllisJake Fiennes, head of conservation at the Holkham Estate. Picture: Carl Ellis

The Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association (RNAA) has announced its annual award-winners including farm conservationist Jake Fiennes, who has won the Sir Timothy Colman Prize in recognition of his “sustained commitment to farming, wildlife and the environment”, and Moira Harrison, who was awarded a Life Fellowship for her “outstanding contribution” to the Royal Norfolk Show and her dedication to the county’s Young Farmers’ Clubs.

RNAA chief executive Greg Smith, speaking at the RNAA annual general meeting last week, praised the efforts of both recipients.

He said Mr Fiennes, formerly estate manager at Sir Nicholas Bacon’s Raveningham estate and now head of conservation at the 25,000-acre Holkham estate, was a “great ambassador” for the countryside.

“For a quarter of a century, Jake has been a pioneer of practical environmental strategy and has blended the very best of farming practice and care for wildlife and the landscape,” he said. “His transformational enthusiasm has won wildlife conservation awards, but more importantly has influenced others to think about the way that land is managed. Having started as a gamekeeper he was given the opportunity to spread his wings into managing a 5,500-acre estate in South Norfolk. In all of this he never last sight of the estate’s key goal, which is producing food from a range of arable cropping and also introduced a beef enterprise with a her of Sussex suckler cattle, and a flock of Norfolk Horn and Romney sheep.

Moira Harrison, Countrysider development officer for Norfolk Young Farmers. Picture: Norfolk YFCMoira Harrison, Countrysider development officer for Norfolk Young Farmers. Picture: Norfolk YFC

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“Alongside his major responsibilities, Jake has also been heavily involved with the development of practical green policies as an influential member of the NFU’s (National Farmers’ Union’s) environment forum. He is also a very active member of the Norfolk Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group, and The Country Land and Business Association.

“In the summer of 2018, he was recruited by the Earl of Leicester to become the first director of conservation for the 25,000-acre Holkham estate. It was a major wrench but as he said at the time it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this great ambassador. Now his responsibilities including looking after the 10,000-acre Holkham National Nature Reserve as the estate looks to a greener, even more environmentally-friendly future.”

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For the second award, Mr Smith described the Royal Norfolk Show’s new Life Fellow Moira Harrison as a “great advocate for farming and the Norfolk countryside.

“Moira has been a key member of the YFC (Young Farmers’ Club) team for over 20 years,” he said. “Not content with just offering the YFC experience to young people over 16, Norfolk YFC, under Moira’s influence, had the idea to create a ‘junior’ wing. In 1996 the Norfolk Countrysiders (for 10 to 16-year-olds) was born and has been a truly home-grown success, thanks in large measure to her dedication and enthusiasm.

“Moira is a stalwart of the Royal Norfolk Show having attended for many years as a standholder and then for the past 20 years in her role as Countrysider development officer for the Norfolk Young Farmers. She has also attended every Spring Fling since its inception and served on the organising committee. More widely, she is a great advocate for farming and the Norfolk countryside, improving the knowledge and understanding of many, whilst also encouraging the next generation to look to agriculture for career options.

“In conclusion, for her outstanding contribution to the Royal Norfolk Show, and her hard work and dedication to the Young Farmers, Moira Harrison is a most deserving recipient of a fellowship of the Royal Norfolk Show.”


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