Berkshire Young Farmers' Club

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Bradfield & District

Latest News from Bradfield & District

It was a slow and slightly reluctant start to 2021 with a feeling of Deja-Vu as we returned to virtual Club meetings for the New Year, but after a Scavenger Hunt and catch-up meeting for the members to drop into we got our momentum going. A successful Public Speaking evening saw good take up from the members for all competitions and we were off on a roller coaster ride which saw PS practices pretty much every night of the week as the Reading teams practiced with their text “A kestrel for a Knave”. The Speaking teams honed their introductions and speeches, the Brainstrust team were interrogated over their knowledge and opinions of current affairs and the debate team readied themselves across two motions.

Before the County Public Speaking competition took place, we celebrated Chinese New Year with a stir fry evening…

The County Public Speaking and Member of the Year Competitions were held virtually across an afternoon and several evenings, there will be an in-depth report elsewhere I’m sure, but we were very proud of all our members and their successes, as well as our added personnel – Jess Elliman and Flo Waite from Newbury who, although new to the Public Speaking comps, excelled themselves and will no doubt bring extra competition next year. Henry Graham joined several Bradfield old timers to provide a proper debate competition. Individually Seb and Josh fought it out for JMOY, and Hannah took SMOY, all the members duly impressing the judges with their knowledge and activities despite lockdown restrictions.

The practices and preparation paid off with our teams qualifying for the Area rounds, but this also meant the practices continued almost daily and a very great commitment was shown by all concerned in readiness for the Area comps.

Pancake evening has become a traditional must-have YFC evening for the club and this year was no different. The members being in their own homes and kitchens did mean none of the traditional tidying up afterwards! We launched our 2021 lockdown challenges, which would this year include a carrot growing challenge. Seeds were distributed to all the members for them to plant and we will be looking for the longest, heaviest and most comedy shaped carrots that the members can propagate.

We are following another photography challenge, and this will run throughout the year with the best seasonal photo for each month being chosen for a 2022 Club calendar. The inclement weather certainly got us off to a good start and we look forward to further entries as the year brightens up.

Like several YFC’s up and down the country, members joined the live JCB presentation on their Fastest Tractor in the World, which was a very technical and interesting talk about their world record attempt with Guy Martin. Unfortunately, Guy was not part of the talk, but it was certainly insightful.

Before we knew it Spring Comps was upon us and multiple Zoom accounts, meetings and breakout rooms were in full swing. Like the County round this was a first for Area comps and as an interested party trying to view multiple competitions it was not the easiest, but it was successful for the members taking part and Berkshire members certainly seemed better prepared for the format, even down to their virtual YFC backgrounds – well done to the very small Berkshire team for pulling it together. It was a competitively successful event for the Bradfield and Berkshire teams, wins in the Speaking (Zoe, Stephen and Aine), Debating (Hannah, Michael, Summer, Henry, and Jess), Senior Member of the Year (Hannah) and Situations Vacant (Jess), second in JMOY (Josh) and a disappointing fourth albeit with an amazing performance from the Reading Team (Alice, Marnie and Trixie). National Finals await – virtually for these too!

We have continued to meet virtually with a brilliant Pictionary evening – did you know about the whiteboard function on Zoom? It is well worth a try. We launched our effort for the Welly Relay and although we are waiting for a couple more submissions, we have managed some additions and donations to the Just Giving Page for County. As we got towards Easter an Egg-blowing and decorating evening was the name of the game – apparently most our members have not done this before, so it was quite entertaining, there was certainly a surplus of liquid egg available for omelettes and scrambled egg – thanks Alice and Marnie for running this at short notice.

Members have started preparing for the Stock Judging, which, again on Zoom, will be a new and different experience, but we are sure they will rise to the challenge. We look forward to getting back to face-to-face meetings with the members.

Gordon Fletcher (Bradfield YFC)

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