Bradfield and District Young Farmers Club Report
In true Young Farmer’s style Bradfield has enjoyed another fun packed year! From public speaking, to cookery to stock judging to ice skating, swimming, bike rides and canoeing the list is endless; we’ve done it all! We continue to meet weekly on Wednesday evenings and have a regular attendance of around 20 members, with a good balance of ages ranging from 10 – 26 years – plus a few over age supporters.
The year started with much enthusiasm and an interesting programme; a successful Race Night and the visits to Walter’s Turkeys and the Panto in the lead up to Christmas were particularly popular. However during January and February we found the numbers dropping off a little but the coming of spring and a committee led re-vamping of the programme saw an up-swing in both attendance and participation. It was a great illustration to all concerned that providing a varied, stimulating and challenging programme encourages new members and retains old ones. The committee have therefore, dedicated a lot of time and thought into producing such a more varied programme. One aspect of this is to try to utilise more local facilities that we have available to us. Rushall Farm is a prime example of this. It provides us with wonderful opportunities from educating our stock judgers through to the more relaxing farm walks and nature trails. We must offer our sincere thanks to Steve Waters and John Bishop for their continued help and support in this direction. We should also like to extend our appreciation to Mr Jim Balsdon and Bradfield Social Club for providing us with excellent venues for a number of activities, along with the many others who share their knowledge and experience to inspire and educate our members.
It’s great that as a Club we are now able to regularly support the Bradfield Mayfayre, an event that raises masses amounts of money for charity but also supports local community groups. As a result of our support (well Jo, Sonia and Jenny!) we are able to continue with the replacement of all the uncomfortable and much maligned wooden chairs in Mile House!
As always Bradfield members were present at the National AGM this year in Blackpool. As always, what goes on tour stay on tour and Facebook, but not the yearbook! Club fundraising has not been without its moments, a successful Race Night and Bingo evening as well as the Show Class presentation evening have all been proven to be both social and financial successes. Excellent food from the Queens Head, Jo Fernandez and Charlie Plank respectively, always helps but it is the members that make these events work, and their hard work paid off. We are very proud of our members’ achievements this year! They excelled at both the Pre-Show and the County Fayre competitions. As well as success in the individual show classes, there were some exceptional moments in the team events such as the soggy welly race and bale pushing; not all of it competitive success but certainly some memorable performances (not naming names! Jax Dawes). The Country Fayre itself relies heavily on the contributions and support from volunteers to steward, judge, man the gate and litter pick, and with Bradfield YFC running the Show Classes this year it was certainly a busy time. The Show Committee put on a fabulous show in a stunning venue and we hope that all of Berkshire’s members enjoyed the classes – but more of that elsewhere in the Yearbook. Elsewhere in competitions, it has been quiet year for Bradfield, with the exception of the show classes, engagement of the members in the more traditional competitions has been a struggle – but congratulations are still due to Rachel Wale for quizzing on her own and to Jenny in Member of the Year, our lone Junior Public Speaking team, Georgina, Freddie and Rachel, are full of promise but were unable to make the step up to Area this year. We would all like to congratulate Sarah Collings for her efforts at the NFYFC Floral Art finals in Malvern – she put a tremendous amount of effort into her piece, and although she was disappointed with her placings, we all think it was stunning.
We had a fabulous summer programme which built on the teamwork and ‘whole club social vibe’ that was in evidence during the show classes. Cycling round Greenham Common followed by Fish and Chips, Canoeing (well, more of an organised soaking really) and a Club BBQ really were a fitting end to the year. Canoeing with Outdoor Academy was a very memorable evenings’ entertainment – unfortunately in the name of taste and decency it would be unfair on either Sophie or Hannah to tell you why! No Club report is complete without a few words of gratitude and as ever there are plenty of people to thank! On behalf of the club members, we would like to thank our committee members for giving up their time once a month to listen to Gordon’s views! What used to be a short 30-minute chat has now turned into a 2 ½ hour marathon – in fact during the last meeting we even had an interval for coffee! Seriously though it is the club officers that make it all happen; Simon, Sonia, Sarah, Jenny, Melissa, Sophie and Hannah have been the mainstay of the years’ efforts and are to be congratulated for their endeavours and commitment on behalf of the Club. Sonia Walters has had a steep learning curve in the last 12 months. Stepping into the breach (and dragging her family with her!) and we are very grateful that she has done so, bringing with her enthusiasm and encouragement as well as a breath of fresh air to club proceedings. We wish Simon good luck with his endeavours outside of YF’s and thank him for his FOUR years as Club Chairman. It follows then that we should thank Jo, not just for putting up with him, but also all the catering exploits that he volunteered her for! Finally we are grateful To the Benyon Trust and Englefield Home Farms for the continued use of Mile House Farm.
We look forward to continuing the traditions of Bradfield Young Farmers over the coming year and even resurrecting some old ones – a return of the Club Camp is an exciting possibility. We have a number of new faces attending meetings, some old ones returning and have elected a very able committee for 2017; things are definitely looking positive for the coming year