It’s time for Norfolk Young Farmers to have a ball

Guests in party mood

Guests in party mood - Credit: Archant

It was a chance to ditch the wellies and workwear in favour of black tie and ball dresses as members past and present, old and young, celebrated 70 years of the Norfolk Federation of Young Farmers.

David and Kathryn Cross

David and Kathryn Cross - Credit: Archant

A warm late Spring evening provided the perfect backdrop for over 1500 members, friends and supporters who filled the Arena at the Norfolk Showground on Saturday night to reminisce, renew old friendships and reaffirm their support for the organisation that continues to provide so much fun and so many opportunities for young people in the county.

The current members of the Norfolk clubs had helped set out the vast venue, pulling out all the stops during the week to ensure it was ready for the event.

A member from each club also created a floral pedestal arrangement to help decorate the Arena and showcase the talents within YFC. Memorabilia from over the decades was also on show in the new atrium area.

Tables were zoned in different colours to try and ease the difficulty of trying to find your seat and every guest was given a souvenir edition of the Norfolk YFC magazine.

In it editor Emily Rout had tried to create a flavour of what members over the years have loved about YFC and the doors it had opened for so many of them.

She included highlights of each decade from the formation of Norfolk YFC in 1944 with 12 senior clubs affiliating. Harleston YFC was the first club to be formed in 1938 but was originally affiliated to Suffolk.

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Parents and grandparents of members could be spotted in old photographs along with pictures of bizarre contraptions members made for fun competitions, along with those featuring pantomimes, stockjudging and charity work.

Each club was also invited to write its own club report giving a greater insight into their memorable moments over the years.

Guests were welcomed to the event by current county chairman Chris Steward before sitting down to dine on a three-course meal of locally sourced food.

Throughout the evening guests could try to win prizes on the tombola, or take part in the table raffle and silent auction.

A toast was raised to the future of the organisation and to absent friends.

They then danced the night away to Todd Miller and the Joe Loss Orchestra before DJ Wurzel took over with the Highlights Roadshow to take the celebrations into the early hours.

As well as commemorating its 70 years, Norfolk YFC launched the YFC Skills Initiative Fund. The federation is aiming to raise £70,000 in its 70th year which will be used to provide training bursaries for YFC members. The federation has recognised that to be work ready for a career in farming takes time, dedication and money. With the average cost of acquiring the necessary skills in the region of £2000 young people are finding it increasingly hard to enter the industry.

The fund will be open to all YFC members who have been registered for at least 12 months and will be weighted towards those in land based and related industries to a maximum of £500 per person.

The success of the evening made a huge contribution towards the Skills Initiative Fund but donations are always much appreciated so please do contact the office if you would like to make a pledge and have not had the opportunity so far.

There are still a few commemorative china mugs available to purchase from the office.