At Bradfield Young Farmers, we like to have fun and enjoy ourselves but also learn about the countryside, the people who live and work in it. We actively develop skills through hands-on experience and competitions.

Meetings are every Wednesday evening and based at Milehouse Farm, Theale. We make use of the surrounding area and facilities.

Take a look at our 2022/23 News (below) for an idea of the range of activities we get up to, but please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to know more.

  • Don’t worry about the age range of members (10 – 28 yrs) – we all get on!
  • All members have a say in what we do so all suggestions are welcome.
  • Members are supported by adult Club Leaders who along with Senior members are DBS checked.
  • Membership includes extensive YFC insurance for all activities and we have qualified first aiders present at our meetings.

If you’ve got any questions about Bradfield YFC, please ask one of our committee, they’ll be only too pleased to help you.

You can keep up to date with Bradfield YFC via Facebook.

Bradfield & District YFC 2022/23 News

By Gordon Fletcher, Club Leader

Yet another action packed and successful year for Bradfield YFC and its talented members. With a growing committee from the 2022 AGM, expectation for 22/ 23 was high. Did the Club deliver? You decide…

Bradfield YF Club meetings continued on a weekly basis despite the commitment that is required to support such a programme. With a growing membership it was also important to maintain the quality of the meetings; in the dark months we used Willink Leisure Centre for Sports. Members visited the Biogas plant in Bucklebury for a tour and talk with Andreas Hempell. We returned to Pumpkin carving to see how creative our members could be. The additional apple bobbing was close to getting out of hand and showed just how competitive our members can get! We HAD to have a Cookery evening, and members were tasked to creating a plate of British food with maximum taste and flavour with a single gas burner. Knife skills, cookery skills and even washing-up – are all good life skills.

Within Berkshire YFC activities our members represented the Club at the Harvest Festival service hosted by Windsor & Maidenhead YFC at the Royal Chapel in Windsor. Bradfield had two junior teams representing the Club at the County Quiz and a single, victorious, Senior team. The juniors pushed Newbury YFC hard but despite gaining ground, were runners up. Josh and Maisie entered the Jesse Matthews competition which looks at how members have got involved and contributed to their Club and YFC activities over the last 12 months.

Blueline Photography visited the Club to talk about photography, camera kit and framing that perfect picture. We were privileged to have Tim Magee bring his deer stalking kit and equipment and explain what makes deer stalking special to him. The members particularly enjoyed using the infra-red scopes. A small group of members created some festive sweet treats – including Reindeer food. These were sold at the Bradfield market along with a Christmas Tree raffle for some amazing Club fundraising. Yattendon Estate allowed us to visit their Christmas Barn and gave a talk on the process of Christmas trees being grown, harvested, and sold. Members and parents alike donned their Christmas jumpers and glad rags for the Club Christmas party – lots of fun had by all. Last of 2022 was the festive film night – bean bags, duvets, blankets, hot chocolate, and popcorn galore to watch The Grinch!

We had a fantastic start to 2023 as 19 older members were treated to a First Aid Evening.  Basic Life Saving first aid was demonstrated and practised. Hopefully our members will never need to use it, but now they have an idea of what to do in an emergency and how to use a publicly accessible defibrillator. We had a games night at Bradfield Social Club.

Members practiced hard for the Public Speaking and Member of the Year competitions. Bradfield had entries in every section. What a set of results and what an amazing display of performances! From inexperienced novices to hardened competitors, Bradfield made a clean sweep across every competition! Speaking teams were first and second – last year’s NFYFC runners-up were pushed hard by our “newbies” – well done Scarlett and Maisie for tackling some big hitting subjects. The Reading team were challenged with the Thief by Malorie Blackman and showed how it was done. Maddy in particularly, impressing the judge and surprising the audience. First and second in Call My Bluff, with the novice team of ‘The Boys’ the stars of an entertaining competition.

First in Brainstrust, with the experienced Webbers showcasing their skills. Josh, Alice, and Zoe all competed in Member of the Year and secured wins in both sections. With several new faces trying out these competitions for the first time it was a great experience for this valuable life skill. 

 Club members took part in the County Sports day, with Junior members at the fore to take part in Basketball and Football at Berkshire College of Agriculture. Not quite the competitive success of the Speaking comps, but both the younger and older sections of our Junior membership played with great commitment and sportsmanship. Often subbing in to help the other Clubs who didn’t have enough players. No wins on this occasion for the Club but some good teamwork showed what Bradfield YFC is all about!

Meetings included a Night Walk in the cold at Greenham Common, followed by restorative hot chocolate, an excellent talk on Mental Health from Forces Farming – an organisation that recruits ex-forces personnel and veterans into farming businesses. Helping both the veterans with their transferable skills and farming businesses who are struggling for labour. Members have taken part in Bradfield’s Bonkers Blue-milk Boatrace as part of our efforts to support FebruDairy! Another film night – Puss in Boots and Kingsmen for the older members – popcorn everywhere! Members started a tuck shop now that our numbers are up.

What a night we had for Pancake Evening, close to 90 pancakes were made, flipped, and consumed with a variety of fillings and toppings from traditional lemon juice & sugar to squirty cream sensations that looked like meringue nests and all manner of chocolate abominations in between. Much fun was had by all as we supported British Farming by using only British ingredients.

We had a great turnout of members for our Stock Judging refresher with Steve Waters at Rushall Farm. Assessing and grading livestock and giving reasons for those assessments is a great YFC skill, but also utilise Public Speaking and communication skills and builds confidence. Obviously at this time of year members HAD to have a cuddle with the lambs…

Our members excelled themselves at the Southeast Area competitions weekend, winning the Reading, Speaking and Brainstrust Public Speaking classes! Marnie, Zara and Maddy were first placed readers, with Marnie getting a special mention in the judge’s feedback for her excellent work chairing the team. The Speaking team scored an amazing 100%, Scarlett’s excellent speech on “Feminism in Farming” certainly hit the mark. She was superbly supported by Alice and Áine who are old hands at this now. The Brainstrust team consisted entirely of Webber siblings – they clearly have had much practice discussing and debating round the breakfast table, so were good value for their first place. Zoe Webber qualified in the Situations Vacant competition. Our first time Public Speakers in the Call My Bluff competition were John-Paul, Bradley, and Freddie, who all performed superbly and really should have been placed higher than 4th. Alice competed in member of the year, and in a tremendously close competition she came second by a single mark. All of Bradfield’s performances contributed to Berkshire’s score for the Champion County Trophy.

Members visited Vicars Game for an immensely informative butchery demonstration. This and the farm visits to Rushall and a Dairy farm clearly paid off for those members who were stock judging at the Pre-Show classes, which Bradfield hosted, again at Rushall Farm by kind permission of the John Simmonds trust and Steve Waters. Record entries from all the Berkshire Clubs saw some close competition, but Bradfield members, including those competing for the first time, really showed their skills. Away from the Stock judging, Bradfield teams in the Fence erecting and Cookery competitions fared well, with Poppy, Sophie and Harriet securing a place in the National Cookery finals. Younger members competing in both these competitions all did fantastically well, learned lots and contributed to the Club points tally. George won the senior section of the Clay pigeon shoot and all the judges, stewards, competitors, and parents were well fed and watered by Paula and her team. A fantastic day for the Club, showcasing Bradfield’s brilliant spirit. 

Bradfield members enjoyed the sun at Bradfield Mayfayre. Older members and parents served tea, coffee, and cake to the public our younger members got soaked having fun with the Club Stocks. Even with the proximity of the Country Fayre this year, we enjoyed contributing to a successful day.

Berkshire Country Fayre is Berkshire YFC’s main competition and promotional day. Bradfield were of course in the middle of it – helping and enjoying the music fest on the Friday night and then at the Show on Sunday. Like the Mayfayre, the weather came good between awful days of rain.

Sporting new club kit including our bespoke shorts, Bradfield members were right in the heart of the action from the start – dumpy bag races, pedal tractor races, wheelbarrow races, machinery handling, dressing up, tug of war, flower arranging… a packed timetable from hosts, Newbury kept members busy all day.

The hard work and vision (thanks to Tash) for the float – based on a Carnival theme that had run through the classes – paid off and the big class that has alluded us for a few years, was a win to treasure. The vibe in the main ring with four carnival themed floats was quite something, not only giving the judges a headache but was enjoyed by the public and the members alike!

There were plenty of placings for our members’ efforts in the exhibition tent too. From the photography, woodwork and metalwork to the craft, art, cookery, floral art, and needlework elements. Some serious skills and talents were exhibited by all the Clubs.

In what were some hard fought for classes, Bradfield was able to retain most of the silverware and the coveted “overall points at show Cup” in what was a real team effort from all members, parents, and supporters.

A BBQ to reward the members and families for all their efforts and display the Cups and silverware was well attended at Barn Elms Farm with thanks to Rosemary Balsdon.

 The members made their way to Newbury and Sundaes Gelato restaurant the following week to see who could eat their own bodyweight in Ice Cream and Waffles. Some amazing creations were ordered; clearly our members have a sweet tooth.

Our next visit was to a Boat Yard in Moulsford where the members saw what it takes to maintain river craft and looked at new electric motors. We learned about river etiquette and navigation.

The first Competitions event of the Summer was Ardingly – Bradfield members were the bulk of the Berkshire stock judging team. Berkshire are the County everyone else wants to beat, but Alice, Aine, Bradley, Stephen, Zoe with Maisie, and Holly were up to the task and the team took 11 placings and two team wins, with Aine and Stephen also gaining places at the National finals in Stock Judge and Stockman respectively! Impressive stuff.

River sampling in the Pang is always a great evening as well as aquatic discoveries members pull any rubbish we can see from this stretch of river. Admittedly the younger members found more aquatic wildlife than the senior members who seemed more intent on dunking each other…

 A week later and we back to water again with an insightful talk on Fly Fishing and Coarse fishing at Barn Elms Fishery. Members were able to try their hand at fly casting and it seems we have some naturals – and no fish were hurt in the name of having a go! Several Bradfield members were seen at the Englefield Flower show either helping with the parking or getting drenched in stocks! We have been Axe & Knife Throwing at Ridgeway Adventures with differing levels of success, this is a great fun activity and requires a great deal of skill to get right. Of course, it is always fun when things get competitive!

Bradfield members have been front and centre for Berkshire YFC at the National Finals. Brainstrust team of Hannah, Stephen, Michael, and Josh did themselves proud, Michael was deservedly ‘Best Panellist’ of the day! The speaking team had high hopes in one of the tightest competitions, Scarlett’s speech deserved better, Alice and Aine were as proficient as ever, only two points separated them from runners-up spot, with Aine claiming 3rd place Vote of Thanks. The Reading team of Marnie, Maddy and Zara did fantastically; overcoming nerves and the thundering rain.

Placing 7th at National! Zoe was in Situations Vacant and had a tough interview, she was 8th overall. On the Sunday, Freddie, JP, and Marnie went back up to Stafford to join Windsor & Maidenhead members in the Basketball – a steep learning curve with the rules on court didn’t dent their ambition and they fought to a semi-final place. 4th place in the Nationals finals was better than we would have predicted at the beginning of the day.

There was further competitive success and representation of the Club with Alice and Bradley, who travelled to the Gt Yorkshire Show for the Dairy finals. Both members achieving 5th place in their respective sections was an awesome achievement. Not be outdone, Stephen and Aine competed in the Stockman finals, no placings, but amazing effort and representation for our small club and County. Sophie, Poppy, and Harriet represented us in the National Cookery finals. A great competition for these ladies in their first year of membership, and a fabulous effort from the team working to the theme “a Day at the Races”. Not to be outdone, Scarlett was in the Intermediate Floral Art final. With her tremendous skills and talents on show and a fantastic score of 90%, she was disappointed with 13th spot.

Bradfield ran its Club Camp in August, and much fun was had by all – see the following report.

Bradfield members have had a fantastic year. It was amazing to relive all the activities, challenges, and memories at the Club AGM in October.

The Club goes from strength to strength when the members are supported and challenged to do their best and #smallbutmighty has NEVER been more appropriate.

 Did the Club deliver? Was there ever any doubt? Bring on 2024…

Bradfield YFC Photo Gallery