Shefford YFC 2022/23 News

By Georgina Tuggey – Club Chair 2022/23

It has been a great year and, safe to say, we are the biggest club we have ever been.  We had a great programme, packed with a range of activities from talks given in the hall to getting outdoors, exploring farms and canoeing on the canal. We won’t get into the detail of every meeting we have had and what we got up to, as we would be here all night. So, we will give some of the highlights and meetings which members have enjoyed the most.

In early January, we hosted a pheasant plucking meeting at Brightwalton Village Hall. This one is always a great meeting and sometimes quite eventful, as we usually have a few members requesting fresh air due to the smell and goriness of the activity!  Most of our members got stuck in and listened well to our instructor, Henry.  The feathers are endless and tidying up is a mammoth task – it is safe to say you could probably still find a pheasant feather floating about in the hall now!

We have had a great range of talks held in the hall this year, focusing on different topics. For example, towards the beginning of the year, we were lucky enough to have a Sports radio broadcaster, Alan Hyde, who gave us an insight into his career and all the amazing events he has been too.  This meeting captured the members interest significantly and hopefully inspired them.

We also had a visit from the Great British Owl Project, this was a fascinating talk given by three ladies, who brought their magnificent owls with them. This gave members the chance to learn all interesting facts about owls and see them up close even though some of them were not playing ball.

We have also been lucky enough to have an invite to a few farms who have hosted us and delivered great talks and tours. We attended Rooksnest Estate, Shefford Woodlands at the end of last year to get some early stock judging prep ready for pre-show. We were then invited to Dyson farms in Compton who gave us a tractor and trailer tour around the whole estate, informing us on recent projects and crops which they are growing. Finally, Ed Clayton hosted us all at his beef farm in Ginge, this had to be my favourite farm talk and most interactive, as the members had the chance to be put through the cattle crush!

As well as all of our meetings, our members have had the opportunity to enter a range of competitions across the year.  The competition season started off in January with sports and public speaking; for many of our members this was their first year they were able to enter competitions and it is fair to say they gave it their best shot.

Our 10-13 year old Basketball and Football teams came first and our 14–16-year-old Basketball and Football teams came fourth at the Berkshire YFC County rounds, which was amazing for all our members competing for Shefford.

Our Reading team came fifth at the Berkshire YFC Public Speaking competitions, which is great as this is always a difficult comp and takes practice and confidence to stand up in front of an audience.

Pre-show soon arrived in April; this is one of the main competitions for the club and gives us a chance to gain as many points ahead of the County Fayre.  Lots of our members entered the stock judging comps across Horses, Beef, Pigs & Sheep. The members which placed from our club were our senior members, who have a lot of practice and experience. I would like to congratulate some of our younger members who put themselves forward and threw themselves out of their comfort zone like Nelly, Ollie, Archie, Maisie, Lilly, Lilly & Alicia.

This year at Preshow, our cookery team included myself, Ella & Oliver.  We placed second on the day with our Gnocchi dish. The clay shooting competition is always a hit with our members – we had seven enter this competition and all did very well, with Archie coming second in his age group.

As usual, our Fencing team excelled and came first at Pre-show and progressed onto SEA to place third.  Ed & Will won Stockman & Judge at South East Area and both progressed onto the NFYFC Finals.

After Pre-show, the Country fayre was the next opportunity for members to enter various competitions before the day and on the day of the fayre and win points for the club.  All members took part and got stuck in to immerse themselves in the activity on the day, especially with the float – which I know is still a sensitive topic!

We would like to congratulate Louisa in all her efforts in taking part in the Floral art competition, where she placed first at the Country Fayre and progressed onto the NFYFC Finals to represent Club and County at Malvern Show.

Towards the end of the YFC year, our final competition is Country Spotters.  This is always a great excuse to wonder around a trail following the clues.  It is an extremely hard competition – well the senior one was certainly last year! Well done to our members Polly and Emma for winning the Junior Competition. 

In conclusion, I would like to say a massive well done to all members which have competed in competitions this year and tried something new and stepped outside of their comfort zone.

Although it is a great pleasure to address all our successes this year, we would also like to recognise the loss of Heather Cantley.  She was such an important part of Shefford YFC, for so many years, and did a huge amount for both Club and County; as well as being Club treasurer, she was a member of the County Exec and Brightwalton Village Hall committee. Lastly, she ensured there was a well-stocked tuck shop at the end of each meeting, which was always a highlight for our younger members. Her warm, welcoming nature, quiet efforts and enthusiastic support of our Club will be greatly missed by us all.

We would like to thank all our members for an excellent year in Shefford YFC and for all what you have achieved this year, we are all very proud of each member. We are looking forward to another successful year in 2024!

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