Fornham St Martin/Yoxford/Bury St Edmunds: Long service award winner George Manning scoops Farmworker of the Year title while Peter Butler is crowned Contractor of the Year and Gary Markham of Churchgate Accountants takes Farm Adviser title.
- Credit: Tim Scrivener
Two Suffolk farmers and a farming professional, including a 75-year-old who still works full-time on the farm, are celebrating after scooping national awards.
Veteran farm employee George Manning of Fornham St Martin, near Bury St Edmunds, scooped the Farmworker of the Year award at the annual Farmers’ Weekly awards last night at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.
Peter Butler of Yoxford took the Contractor of the Year title, and Gary Markham from Churchgate Accountants in Bury St Edmunds won the Farm Adviser of the Year award.
George, aged 75, who has worked at RL Long Farms since he was a schoolboy of 15, has already been presented with a long service award at this year’s Suffolk Show by Prince Harry for 60 years of service. It’s a double celebration for George, as his 50th wedding anniversary with wife, Muriel, is today.
“I’m feeling great. I’m on a bit of a high - I got there. It was a brilliant night,” he said.
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“It was a bit of a surprise to me that I pulled it off.”
George’s employer, Andrew Long, described him as “a very extraordinary, reliable man, dedicated to the Long family business”.
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“It was an achievement to get to the final,” said George.
“It all came up on the screen. It’s an evening I’ll not forget for a while.”
Judge Meurig Raymond, who is president of the National Farmers’ Union, said: “George’s devotion to the farm over 60 years is truly impressive. He has obviously been the backbone of this busy business for many years and is keen to carry on.”
Peter, aged 65, runs a successful contracting business.
For the past 30 years, he has been at the sharp end of sugar beet production and works with manufacturers to improve machines, investing in the latest technology and cleverly financing equipment to keep costs down.
Judge Philip Wynn, director, Wynn Business Partnerships, said: “Peter’s passion and infectious enthusiasm for the sugar beet crop is second to none. He has developed a complete service to growers in the eastern counties based on a lifetime’s experience of growing and harvesting the crop.”
Gary, of Churchgate Accountants in Bury St Edmunds, achieved his vision of a one-stop shop for all farm business, offering professional, financial, tax, accounting and legal advice, but in addition helping to shape their businesses to give them confidence for the future.
Judge Jake Freestone, farm manager at Overbury Farms, said: “Gary is very influential on how his clients set up their businesses, using novel methods to provide the right structure for a profitable and secure future.”
The top winner of the night was Poul Hoveson from Holkham Estate in Norfolk who was crowned 2014 Farmers Weekly Farmer of the Year, as well as Arable Farmer of the Year.