Berkshire Young Farmers' Club

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Newbury and District Young Farmers Club Report

To start off our year we had a walk up at Greenham Common with one of the rangers and he told us what the common was used for and how the residents have land rights to graze cattle and the ponies on the common.

Then came the stock judging practise with Caroline Denton, held at Manor Farm, Brimpton – everyone got involved on what was a really wet and nasty night! It was a good experience for those who had not done it before, and members were able to see if they would like to have a go in a competing in the future. A sports evening followed with Shefford, which was a really fun evening and was great to get to know them better. We then held a Quiz evening which was good as it made us think and get competitive as well as learning new things.

One of our best meetings was the Treasure Hunt on Greenham Park, kindly organised by Georgie. It was really interesting as we had to find our way round various points in the park, answer questions and collect various things. It was harder than it sounded, especially has we had to use our torches to find our way around!

Christmas was soon on the way and we got busy making Wreaths at Willis Farm, Vernham Dean. Thank you to Jane Elliman and also Jane Wells for helping us this evening. The members then sold the wreaths in aid of our nominated charity ‘Winston’s Wish’.

As usual we started the New Year with a fun evening ten pin bowling in Thatcham – what a competitive lot we are! The winter months meant that we spent more time inside with various meetings; first aid where members were shown how to do CPR and also basic bandaging and also what to do in certain emergencies; a very interesting talk by Clare Killen on the Berkshire Land Army Girls and how they lived their day to day lives during the war years. This was a subject that none of our members knew anything about, so was a great piece of our history they were able to learn about.

No year would be complete without a visit to see some lambing, thanks this year to David Carlisle. We were lucky enough to see twins being born pretty much as soon as we arrived. This is always a popular visit enjoyed by all the members.

The next few meetings were working up to the county show where there was a lot of preparation to do such as painting signs and making the costumes for the protestors and of course making our red tractor! We manage to squeeze in a hike around the footpaths by our hall, followed by a sausage sizzle which went down well.

Then came big day itself – the county show which was a great day and all of our members took part in classes, whether on the day, or in the exhibition tent. There was always a crowd around the ring, especially when the floats came in. It was really interesting to see how each of the clubs interpreted farming in the future.

After the show, we then had a Bush Tucker trial at Fuces Farm. This was great fun especially when it came to the blind folds and the boxes where members had to guess what was in – water beads with sausages, acorns and a jumping cup; Evans head in a box with a trap and finally there was a box containing a ball, keys, an egg and shot gun cartridges. To finish the trial, members had chocolate bugs and meal worms to munch on!

We had a talk by Celia Perris on bee keeping which was very interesting and everyone was fascinated to learn how the honey is made, and we even got to try several different types of honey. We took a walk with Sandra Whiting around the footpaths in Burghclere and had to find items on the way such as a feather, piece of chalk, some corn and a fern. It was a good way to get us looking around at our surroundings.

Our last meeting of the year as always was our family BBQ and rounders evening hosted very kindly by Mike Bowden at Manor Farm. I think it is safe to say it was a great end to a very busy and fun year.

Emily Hiscock-Club Chairman

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