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East Anglia: ‘Save our bacon’ say Ladies in Pigs’ battling stalwarts

12:10 16 November 2012

L-R: Pauline Butler (secretary), Jenny Mitchell (chair) and Jean Turnbull (past chair) of Ladies in Pigs East Anglia who are appealing for volunteers.

L-R: Pauline Butler (secretary), Jenny Mitchell (chair) and Jean Turnbull (past chair) of Ladies in Pigs East Anglia who are appealing for volunteers.

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A RASHER of new recruits is needed to keep up the sizzling success of a much-admired regional pig lobbying group, its ageing membership says.

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Ladies in Pigs’ (LIPS) East Anglia stalwarts fear its branch may fold unless younger members can be found to take up the cause.

Over the past 20 years, the women have been supporting the embattled UK pig sector by publicising its cause at events and through a variety of initiatives, including pork recipe books compiled by members.

But they now want to a new generation to take their turn.

Secretary Pauline Butler, whose husband, Jimmy, runs Blythburgh Free Range Pork, has written to people in the industry, inviting them to their Christmas dinner at Diss Rugby Club on November 27, and to appeal to the younger generation to get involved.

“We would like to appeal to the younger members involved with the pig industry to become actively involved in LIPS as we need to start handing over some of our work to safe hands to continue what we have been doing for over 20 years,” she said.

“We are in danger of our branch folding at the next AGM as our chairman (who is also our treasurer) is standing down for personal reasons and at present we have nobody willing and able to take her place for either office.

“Most of our active members are now pensioners and really would like to start drawing a lighter furrow.”

In East Anglia, the group is particularly passionate about its work with children at the Spring Fling in Norfolk and Suffolk Schools Farm Fair in Ipswich, she said.

“We are quite an elderly group - we work hard,” she explained. “We suddenly thought: ‘Where are the youngsters in the industry - we need you.’ I wrote a letter to try and persuade just one or two to take up the mantle. I’ll either stand down this time or if a new chair wants a hand in the first year I don’t mind doing that. We feel the younger ladies should take up the gauntlet.”

She added: “We are farmers’ wives and have been used to working very hard. Suddenly, we are the wrong site of 65 and thought: ‘Why are we still doing this?’ We didn’t want the branch to fold.

“There are still a lot of pigs in East Anglia and they need all the promotion we can get.”

Chair Jenny Mitchell said: “We feel if we don’t step back as a group we won’t get the new people in.”

Past chair Jean Turnbull said new people would bring in new ideas.

If you’re interested in finding out more, contact the trio at: jean-turnbull@btconnect.com; mrsjamitchell@btconnect.com or jimmy@freerangepigs.co.uk, or phone Jenny at 01379 642520.

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