Heaven & Hell with Suffolk farmer and cricketer Tom Rash
PUBLISHED: 19:23 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 19:23 12 June 2020
Tom Rash is a seventh generation family farmer on the Suffolk/Norfolk border along the Waveney River running a 400 hectare (1000 acre) mixed farming business growing cereals, sugar beet and with 100 beef suckler cows. He has recently established Hall Farm Beef, selling sustainable grass-fed beef boxes direct to the public. Tom has played in the Suffolk County Cricket team for over a decade, is an MCC playing member and sits on the MCC players and fixtures committee. Here he talks to Gina Long.
What’s the impact of Covid-19 on you and how are you adapting?
Obviously, there’s been no cricket this season and that’s a massive part of my life. It gives me a break from the farm which can be overwhelming. I’m also getting old now for a cricketer so we will have to see if I get to make it back out onto the field. However, it’s meant that I’ve had more time to catch up with jobs on the farm that otherwise might not have been completed. During lockdown I’ve noticed many people are shopping in different ways and choosing to buy local produce, which has opened the door for us to sell our beef directly.
What help and advice would you like to give our readers during the Covid-19 lockdown times?
Stay active but respect other people’s spaces. Help those that need help.
What is your connection to East Anglia?
I’m born and raised here in Suffolk. Apart from my time at Royal Agricultural College, I’ve lived on the farm my whole life.
What is your East Anglian Heaven ie what do you love most about East Anglia?
I’m very much a country boy. I love our countryside and the quietness of living here, I hope it will continue to stay that way.
What is your East Anglian Hell ie what you hate most about living here?
Getting stuck behind a tractor on the road. Even though I am a farmer I hate it when farmers don’t pull over!
What’s your favourite East Anglian restaurant?
The Fox and Goose in Fressingfield. They’ve also offered a Cook @ Home menu during lockdown which has been fantastic.
What’s your favourite way to spend an East Anglian evening?
Watching the sun go down with a bottle of wine, barbecue, my wife and the dog.
What’s your favourite East Anglian landmark?
The Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. I love Bury and have fond memories of mum taking me there as a young child.
What’s the best thing that happens in East Anglia every year?
The newly formed National Counties were supposed to play a showcase cricket fixture against the First Class Counties. This year was due to be Suffolk Vs Kent at Copdock Cricket Club, which unfortunately has been cancelled due to Covid-19. Hopefully it will happen next year and for many years after that.
What your specialist Mastermind subject?
Embarrassingly, the Stargate SG1 TV series.
What is always in your fridge?
A bottle of fizz, plenty of British bacon and some of our home-reared beef.
What’s your simple philosophy of life?
Work hard play hard.
What’s your favourite film?
What was your first job?
I can remember stacking small hay bales on the farm when I was about 12 years old. It was exhausting work but I was so pleased when I received my tiny pay-packet at the end of each week.
What is your most treasured possession?
In 2015 I was awarded my full county cap and is something that I am incredibly proud of. It’s a recognition of long-term achievement, resilience and performance, given only to those players who have scored over 1000 runs or taken 50 wickets for the county.
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Who do you admire most?
My wife Fiona works as a physiotherapist in the NHS. She gives me insight into what the NHS are coping with, they have always been the real heroes.
What is your biggest indulgence?
I’m lucky enough to have attended some pretty indulgent events at Lord’s. The members-only restaurant in the Warner Stand gives you stunning views of the test match while enjoying an extravagant lunch.
What do you like about yourself most?
I don’t give up easily.
What’s your worst character trait?
Taking on too much and trying to please too many people.
Where is your favourite holiday destination?
Always somewhere hot. I like to flop-and-drop! Recently we went to Australia and spent most of our time on empty beaches or exploring vineyards. South Western Australia seem to have the perfect balance of everything. They just seem to get it right there.
Best day of your life?
My wedding day. We were lucky enough to have it at home on the farm, just when harvest had finished, surrounded with all our friends and family.
What’s your favourite breakfast?
Poached eggs on a toasted New York bagel with plenty of bacon.
What’s your favourite tipple?
A cool, crisp Chardonnay.
What’s your hidden talent?
I can make a mean red wine sauce.
When were you most embarrassed?
One evening on a friend’s stag-do it was a black tie sit down dinner. I’m notorious for forgetting things, this time I forgot to pack my shirt. I ended up sitting down in just a bow tie and feeling like a ‘butler-in-the-buff’.
What’s your earliest memory?
Watching dad play cricket, I guess that’s where I first fell in love with the game.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Oasis – Live Forever.
Tell us something people don’t know about you?
I value my health and fitness and workout regularly at CrossFit Beorn in Bury St Edmunds. It helps my sport and to manage a busy farming lifestyle. But I absolutely hate working out!
What’s the worst thing anyone has ever said to you?
Plenty of things have been said to me by opponents on a cricket pitch, which are definitely not appropriate to repeat.
Tell us why you live here and nowhere else?
I just love it here. This has always been my home. We’re really lucky that the farm is pretty much ring-fenced and it is my slice of East Anglian heaven, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
What do you want to tell our readers about most?
Keep your eyes out for any Suffolk cricket fixtures next season, we always appreciate the local support. Also for local, grass-fed, sustainable beef, check out Hall Farm Beef on social media for our next beef delivery. Twitter: @hallfarmbeef Instagram: @hallfarmbeef Facebook: @hallfarmbeefboxes
Are you or your business doing something special during Covid-19 times? If you are living in Suffolk or Norfolk and are adapting your business, please do email me at email@example.com or follow Twitter: @geewizzgee1 Instagram: ginalongmbe
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