NFU chairman's champagne moment

Farmers' leader Bob Young has already enjoyed a champagne moment - just three days into his two-year term of office. The newly-appointed chairman of Norfolk National Farmers' Union formally succeeded George Harcourt on Tuesday after the NFU's annual conference in Birmingham.

Farmers' leader Bob Young has already enjoyed a champagne moment - just three days into his two-year term of office. The newly-appointed chairman of Norfolk National Farmers' Union formally succeeded George Harcourt on Tuesday after the NFU's annual conference in Birmingham. Mr Young, who is a specialist vegetable grower and produces about 30 acres of celeraic at Grange Farm, Hockwold, was given the bottle by another farmer as a welcome present. Sounds like a combination of champagne and celeraic should go down a treat!

It has become a popular annual luncheon party, which helps to raise funds for Addenbroke and Papworth Hospitals. Farmer Phillip Kidner and friends started the Overall and Apron lunch 14 years ago. It will be held on Sunday, March 25 at South Margaret South Elmham's village hall, from noon. It was started by a number of farmers in the Waveney valley, who had been treated at the hospitals, and usually about 70 supporters attend. Staff from the Buck, Rumburgh, arrange the bar and John Groom, of Bungay, donates the meat. To assist with the catering, please order the £6 tickets by March 18 on 01986 782289.

Members of Stoke Ferry Agricultural Society prepare for one of the highlights of the year with the annual dinner at Downham Market Town Hall on Friday, March 9. As ever good beef is always served, and hopefully there will be plenty of local-grown root vegetables for members and guests to enjoy. One regular attender, Bob Young, who is also the new Norfolk NFU chairman, will be keen to drum home the local food sourcing message. Farmer and Euro-MP Robert Sturdy has been invited to address the gathering. However, members limber up for the big event with a talk on “Health & Safety: A Management issue” by Matthew Hague, of Berry & Co, on Tuesday at the Ryston Park Golf Club, 7.30pm.

Gamekeepers from across the region will be heading for the Mid-Norfolk Shooting School, Taverham, on Tuesday, March 13. The annual keepers' clayshoot features an individual 40-bird sporting, £14, and a 40-bird three-man team flush. It starts at 11.30am with last entries at 2.30pm and prize giving, 3.30pm. It is organised by William Heal, of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, and is sponsored by King's Game Cover and Janssen Animal Health. Refreshments available all day and it is a qualifier for the BASC clay shoot final. Details, Mr Heal on 01284 728752.


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A busy programme is planned by the East Anglian support group of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, starting with the annual meeting buffet supper at the Scole Inn, near Diss, on Thursday, March 15, 7.30pm. Kevin Bowes, who is the president of the Wayland Agricultural Society and director of Bowes of Norfolk, has been invited to speak. The support costs £7.50 per head from the secretary. Incidentally, Wayland Show takes place on Sunday, August 5. The latest newsletter also has details of practical lambing courses at Easton College on March 17 or March 24, telephone 01603 731200, which cost £45. Members have also decided on a change of format for the annual dinner and auction of promises, which will be held at the Norfolk showground on Saturday, June 23. Tickets will cost £17.50 per head, which can be obtained from the secretary Alex Steven, of Willow Pond Cottage, Salhouse, Norwich NR13 6RS.

One of the country's authorities on the history of farm buildings, Suzanna Wade-Martins has been invited to address the members of Norfolk Industrial Archaeology Society. She will be talking on Thursday, April 5 at the Charing Cross Centre, St John Maddermarket, 7.30pm. The well-known Mid-Norfolk author has published several first-class books over the years. Then, there is an opportunity to appreciate some of the city's industrial heritage with a walk led by James Oxley-Brennan on Saturday, May 12, 2pm. Meet at the Bridewell Museum.

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Students at Easton College will be taking a day off from their studies in the hope of raising funds to help farming communities in Malawi. The 11 volunteers on the college's second year national diploma in agriculture course plan to pull a Massey Ferguson 35 tractor for six miles through Easton, Colton and Marlingford, with lecturer David Mawson at the wheel. Joshua Hirst, who is the eldest son of Richard, chairman of the NFU's horticultural board, said that the group will start at 10am on Tuesday, March 20. They hope to raise at least £500 which will be towards the purchase of two MF35 tractors, and also suitable implements. The students are supporting two appeals this year including the East Anglian Children's Hospices as well as the Malawi fund-raising effort.

A remarkable archive of farming photographs and records has been compiled by a founder member of the Norfolk Farm Machinery Club. Bill Newcombe-Baker, who farmed in West Norfolk near Docking, was one of the pioneers of mechanised farming and was a co-founder of Normac with the late Ben Burgess at a meeting in March 1946. A photograhic record of his farming years has been compiled by Chris Thomas, of Normac, and his son-in-law David Lyles, of Muckleton. The plan is to invite members to watch a presentation of the material at two 60th anniversary celebration parties in May. One will be held at the Norwich deport of Ben Burgess & So and the other in the big barn at Muckleton. Unfortunately, plans for Wednesday's tool and workshop show at the Norfolk showground have come to naught. It has been cancelled.

After the delays at last year's annual dinner, members of Stalham Farmers' Club resolved on a 7.30pm prompt start on Wednesday, February 21. Once again, members will be invited to carve the beef at the table, which proved popular at last year's event. Tickets cost £20 per head and Jim Bacon, of WeatherQuest, who was a star at Holt & District Farmers' Club last year, has been invited to proposed the toast to the club in its 165th year. Cheques should be sent to Frank Read, Dunsdale, Witton, Norwich NR13 5DW.

A venture into the countryside was a popular choice for the Norfolk Holstein Club's annual dinner dance and the organiser Jennie Hipperson had no problem selling the tickets. And, the over-subscribed event at the Park Hotel, Hethersett, was a very jolly occasion although the number of active dairy farmers was in the minority. Was there some misunderstanding about the precise cooking instructions for the beef, which was provided by Bill Doig through Blakes of Felthorpe? Sadly, the roast sirloin was very over-cooked. Even more curiously given the growing interest in local food, one starter included aparagus with Parma ham and there was no cheese for dessert, which would have popular with the milk producers present.

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