Top table delight for club officers

It was an evening for the top table to enjoy at the Feathers Hotel, Holt. The new representative of farming's charity, Jimmy Fowell, of Itteringham, Aylsham, invited members to pay £5 into a raffle for RABI, (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution).

It was an evening for the top table to enjoy at the Feathers Hotel, Holt. The new representative of farming's charity, Jimmy Fowell, of Itteringham, Aylsham, invited members to pay £5 into a raffle for RABI, (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution). The prizes were two bottles of malt whisky, Talisker and a 12-year-old Glenlivet and a bottle of port. When the draw was made by guest speaker Richard Davis, coxswain of the Cromer lifeboat for 26 years, the winner was Michael Attew, chairman of Holt and District Farmers' Club. Ian Ross, of Holt, who declared that he was teetotal, won the second and secretary Tim Nicholson got the port. Cheers for the chairman and RABI made £205.

History was made at the latest meeting of Stalham Farmers' Club. For the first time in the 155-year history of the club, a woman formally took the chair. Emma Ralph, vice-chairman, welcomed 30 members and guest speaker West Norfolk farmer Martin Collison to the Sutton Staithe Hotel, near Stalham. Founded in 1841, the club has never had a female chairman. She follows farmer Tim Papworth into the chair next February when Lady (Georgina) Roberts, of Cockley Cley, Swaffham, vice-chairman of Norfolk Country Land and Business Association speaks.

Carols at tomorrow evening's service should sound sweeter following the formal dedication of a second-hand organ at East Lexham, near Swaffham. The Fakenham firm, Holmes & Swift, has restored the organ, which was removed from a church at Bath. Unusually, the manual Sweetland organ, built in 1873, has a pitch pine case and so blends with the interior furnishings at St Andrew's, which is one of 123 round tower churches in Norfolk. The Bishop of Lynn, the Rt Rev James Langstaff, will attend the traditional carol service at 6.30pm, said churchwarden Neil Foster, of nearby Lexham Hall. All welcome but it is a small church.

East Norfolk farmer Roger Beck, who helped to keep the church open at Brunstead, near Stalham, will welcome friends and visitors to the annual carol service at St Peter's Church at 6pm tonight. Mr Beck, president of Stalham Farmers' Club, insists that the name of the church should always be spelled with a "n" and not "m" as the county council signs indicate. Last year, a couple of donkeys were the stars and enjoyed their apples. Mulled wine and mince pies will be served. And tomorrow, Holy Trinity Church, Ingham, has a carol by candlelight service, 4pm, with proceeds to Cancer Research UK. After a jolly sing, mulled wine will be served.

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Climate change certainly offers some benefits, said Henry Cator in his annual report to members of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association. With a record crowd of 105,629 at the Royal Norfolk Show, the final total was helped by two consecutive days of fine weather, which had not happened since 1995. "We are the largest two-day show in the UK. I hope we have secured the reputation for being the best," added Mr Cator. It also enabled the retiring president, Anthony Duckworth-Chad to win his bet with friend and rival, the Earl of Leicester. He had wagered that he would have a record crowd during his year, last achieved during the earl's presidency. And so the records revealed that 503 more visitors had attended.

A long-standing relationship between the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and Easton College has been forged to the mutal benefit of farming industry. It is appropriate that the chairman of governors, Sir Nicholas Bacon, of the Raveningham estate, near Beccles, has been invited to serve as the RNAA's president at next month's annual meeting. Sir Nicholas, who has been a great supporter of college activities over the year, even took to a bike to support a development appeal. Hopefully, he will just have to rely on

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his own two feet for his presidential tour next summer.

Fundraiser Emma Ralph and colleagues David Moar, of the buying group Anglian Farmers, and south Norfolk farmer Peter Cargill, raised more than £3,000 for the Big C Appeal and East Anglia's Children's Hospices with their trip to Rome in an old banger. They took a veteran Volvo, with more than 175,000 miles on the clock to Rome as part of a charity road run. It had to cost less than £100 to buy, but unfortunately broke down shortly before the Stalham Farmers' Club meeting in October. Once repaired, it was a trouble-free run. The "Flaming Idiots" persuaded a friend to drive the car back to Norwich, adding another 3,400 miles on the clock. When it sold at auction for £250, it boosted the total even further.

William Heal, of the British Association of Shooting and Conservancy, and the Game Conservancy Trust, are running the annual young shots clay shoot at the Mid-Norfolk Shooting School at Taverham on Thursday, from 9.30am. The 50-bird sporting event is open to all young shots. Entry £12 in advance only, telephone 01284 728752 (office hours).

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