East Anglian turkey farmers celebrate successes at pre-Christmas banquet

Kelly Turkeys receiving the award for Best In Show for its Stag Under 11kg at the Anglian Turkey Ass

Kelly Turkeys receiving the award for Best In Show for its Stag Under 11kg at the Anglian Turkey Association annual banquet. Pictured from left, Martin Shea, Clive Wreathall, Stuart Beaumont and Steve Lambert. Picture: SARAH BARRON - Credit: Archant

Turkey producers from East Anglia and beyond celebrated their successes at a banquet at Stoke-by-Nayland in the run-up to Christmas.

Anglian Turkey Association’s (ATA) annual bash and turkey show took place at Stoke-by-Nayland on November 24, and featured a traditional show of birds and the presentation of the Goodchild Trophy, which recognises outstanding contributions to farmfresh poultry farming.

The prestigious award went to Clive Wreathall, who produces turkeys with his brother Andrew near Ashford, Kent. They market their Christmas turkeys under the Appledore label, rearing over 20,000 birds for butchers and farmgate sales.

ATA president Derek Kelly said: “Clive chaired the Traditional Farmfresh Turkey Association (TFTA) for two years, during which he negotiated a grant from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and used it to make the TFTA a very professional marketing organisation.”

Clive, who was asked to judge the competition, described the decision-making process as “dancing on the head of a pin”, with little to choose between entries. Class winners showed particularly good ‘bloom’, giving them the edge in terms of taste and texture, he said.

Three classes each went to Danbury-based Kelly Turkeys (Stag, Hen Under 5.5kg, Bronze Brace) and Cottage Farm Turkeys of Sevenoaks (White Brace, Oven Ready, Brexit Theme). The Kelly stag was judged as the best bird in the show, scooping £250 from Hockenhull Turkeys.

The coveted best Hen 5.5kg to 8kg went to Mike and Sue Lindsell of Salix Farm Turkeys, near Saffron Walden, and Newmarket-based producer Ian Wylie took home the award for Hen Over 8kg. Commendations went to Blackwell’s Farm Produce, Coggeshall, which collected five places and Philip Hunter of Suffolk Turkeys, Fressingfield, placed four times.

Most Read

The event raised £1,000 for the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance.

ATA chairman Martin Shea of Hockenhull Turkeys, on crutches after falling down the stairs during a fishing trip to Canada, introduced the charity’s representative with some humour.

He also paid tribute to two well-known producers who had died during the year: John Martin, who created Lincs Turkeys, and David Grove-Smith, a founding member of the ATA.

The ATA will continue to meet four times each year, starting with a gathering at 8pm on January 9 at Prested Hall, near Colchester. For more information, contact Becky McConnell on 01245 223581 or email becky@kellyturkeys.com.