A fond fairwell to chair Helen

THE AGM season is upon us and clubs are in full action again with their autumn programmes under way and the YFC activities back in the swing. At this time of year I am always immensely grateful for the invention of sat nav despite having visited most of the club’s AGM venues on many occasions.

To start the AGM season I made the short and well known trip to Stowmarket YFC’s annual general meeting at the Limes Hotel in Needham Market. As always Stowmarket had a fantastic turn out to their meeting with excellent support from the members and supporters and I was delighted they were able to present St Elizabeth’s Hospice with a cheque for �3094 raised at their annual reunion event. Congratulations to Ed Binder for taking on the chairman’s role.

Next stop on the tour de Tory was a Friday night excursion to the darkest depths of Shimpling for Lark Valley Junior’s annual general meeting. The presentation of awards was excellent and it was fantastic to meet Mrs Smith from Hardwick Middle School who is a great supporter of the club. The highlight of the meeting was the “commitment award” given to Bethany Evershed who had decided to present about Young Farmers to her school (Hardwick Middle). This is an excellent example of the determination of our younger members taking the initiative to further promote our excellent federation. Congratulations to Matthew Clements for taking on the role of club chairman.

AGM number three was the big one for us in the office with the county annual general meeting taking place at Otley College. This is the finale of our last membership year and the start of a new year and new members of our committees. We were delighted to see so many of our fantastic sponsors and supporters present and the meeting was a great celebration of an excellent year for us.

Membership of the federation has increased by 18.8% this year and we have three new clubs. This is our biggest increase in the past few years and we are aiming to continue this trend. We were delighted to have David Lawrence, principle of the newly merged Easton and Otley College who spoke about the future of agriculture, the merger of the colleges and the need for Young Farmers and the colleges to work together to ensure that the gaps in the employment areas of agriculture are filled by well-rounded, well trained individuals.

Our AGM also gave us the chance to review the year and say a very fond farewell to our outgoing chairman, Helen Walker. Helen has been our chairman for two years and has been a force to be reckoned with. Without Helen’s hard work and enthusiasm the membership increase would not have happened and neither would many of the events that have all had huge success over her time as chair. We would like to wish her well in her role as Eastern Area Treasurer and representative on the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs Board of Management, Helen is also taking the YFC Discovery trip of four months in New Zealand early next year and she is a fantastic example of a member getting the most out of what YFC can offer.

We welcome John Dickson of Debenham YFC into Helen’s very big chairman’s boots as county chair and we already have many plans in place for John’s year. Coming up in the next month, more travel around the county with seven more club AGM’s to attend, the likelihood of getting lost, despite sat nav assistance, is very high knowing my ability to argue with my very friendly sat nav lady. At the end of the month we are holding our first sports day of the year featuring rugby, hockey, junior unihockey and tag rugby which will then bring us around to November. How time flies when you’re having fun!