Top charity award to Broadland farmer

Some �687,000 has been raised in Norfolk for the nation's farming charity, the Royal Agricultural Benev-olent Institution, in the past 25 years.

Sally Mitchell, secretary to the county branch since 1986, was presented with a Trustee Award by the charity's president, the Duke of Gloucester, at the annual meeting.

A maximum five awards can be made each year to individuals selected for outstanding service.

From just across the county boundary, James Stamper, of Barnham, also received a Trustee Award for his efforts for the charity for the past 17 years. He has supplied, cooked and carved the hog roast at the RABI retirement home, Manson House, at Bury St Edmunds, during that period. A past trustee and chairman of the Suffolk committee, he has raised the charity's profile for the past 28 years.

Julian Sayers, chairman of RABI, said: 'We are extremely fortunate to have so many loyal supporters like Sally and James who are an integral part of the charity, not only raising much-needed funds but playing their part within the RABI family as we seek to support those who are in need within the farming community.'

Mrs Mitchell, of Hall Farm, Repps with Bastwick, was a joint deputy RABI chairman for three years. The meeting was told 'her single-minded drive to excellence is second to none'.

She calculated that Norfolk had raised about �750,000 over the past quarter-century if funds for Manson House were included too. 'It is marvellous, a really marvellous achievement,' she added.

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Norfolk raised �45,712 last year, an increase of more than �15,500 on the previous year. The 150th anniversary ball staged at Salle Park by invitation of branch president Sir John White boosted the fundraising.

RABI spent �98,108 on Norfolk beneficiaries last year – up from �90,173 in the previous year.

In Suffolk, the branch raised a total of �30,332 last year, an increase from �19,000 in the previous year. Spending on beneficiaries was �59,701 in the county last year. Cambridgeshire raised �38,083, an increase of �19,500, and spent �26,357 on beneficiaries.

t On Monday, the annual Norfolk RABI golf match takes place when a record 24 teams of four tee off at Bawburgh Golf Club.

t Cocktail party - page 45.