Norfolk farming duo help each other

An award-winning dairy farmer has been praised by the Norwich businessman who helped her achieve success at a popular Norfolk event after she saved his life.

Young farmer Helen Reeve, of Alburgh, near Bungay, won first prize in the 2011 Growing Business Award with her herd of pedigree Waveney Dexter cattle, at the Royal Norfolk Show earlier this year.

And as well as her mentor Rod Tuck, of the Norwich-based Giant Pet Store, saying she was 'good with cattle' he also praised her for being 'good in a crisis', saying she saved his life when he suffered a heart attack in 2010.

The 29-year-old, who was travelling with Mr Tuck to London, raised the alarm when he collapsed on the train. Miss Reeve had the train stopped and arranged for urgent medical attention which saved his life.

Miss Reeve said: 'We had been travelling from the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution 150th anniversary event at Westminster when Rod had a heart attack.'

Mr Tuck added: 'Helen was absolutely wonderful. Not only is she good with cattle breeding but good in a crisis too. If she hadn't been there I wouldn't be here today. She is a very competent lady in all respects.'

The duo first met at the Norfolk Young Farmers Club (YFC) when Mr Tuck was president. He has continued to help Miss Reeve throughout the years and said her success was 'thoroughly deserved'.

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Miss Reeve, who usually starts her day at 5am, said: 'I think from the moment I was born I wanted to be a farmer.

'There are farmers on both sides of the family and I think my mum and dad originally tried to steer me away because they thought it wasn't a job for a young lady. But they are very supportive of what I do.

'Mum and dad bought me my first Dexter at the age of 14. I had seen one at the Norfolk Show and fell in love with it.'

Miss Reeve won �5,000 and plans to invest the prize money into marketing and publicity, adding value to the cattle carcase with new ideas for burgers, recipe packs, equipment, purchasing more stock and training.

She said: 'It's hard work but I think if you want to do something you have to put a lot of work into it. I wouldn't want to do anything else.'

Miss Reeve works full-time as a herdsman at the Depwade herd of pedigree Jerseys in Starston.

donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk