Historic Lord Mayor’s Show features sugar beet industry

A SUGAR beet harvester owned by a Suffolk farmer made history when it led a City of London parade as its new Lord Mayor, Alderman David Wootton, followed 683 years of tradition by introducing himself to the people at the historic Lord Mayor’s Show parade.

It was the first time a sugar beet harvester has been part of the parade.

It negotiated its way through the streets of the City of London. It was also specially ‘signed’ to show the viewing public some of the positive aspect of the industry including number of growers, such as 4,000 farmer growers supporting 13,000 jobs, where sugar comes from and the ‘home-grown’ nature of the industry, with 50% of sugar consumed in the UK homegrown.

Last Saturday’s Lord Mayor’s Show enjoyed excellent weather and attracted an audience of more than half a million people on the day, lining the pavements on the three mile long procession starting from and ending at Mansion House via the streets of the City of London, as well as millions more watching on BBC television throughout the world.

The Worshipful Company of Farmers has taken part in the parade for the last six years with the aim of promoting a better understanding of the economic importance of UK farming in the life of the nation and the close association of farming with the City of London.

This year the Agrifac Quatro sugar beet harvester, loaned by Suffolk farmer Peter Butler, was one of a long line of quality agricultural machinery called on by the Worship Company of Farmers to support the event over the years,

The list includes a combine, a forage harvester, a potato harvester, a pea viner, a 10-furrow plough and large tractor.

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Master of the Company Peter Faulkner said:“The Worshipful Company of Farmers would like to most sincerely thank the sugar beet harvester’s owner Peter Butler, British Sugar and the National Farmers’Union for their support in providing us with such an impressive display to showcase farming at this year’s Lord Mayors Show.”

The harvester was being used until Wednesday, November 9, lifting sugar beet. It was then cleaned and prepared for the show and en route was given a ‘send-off reception’ at British Sugar’s Bury St Edmunds factory on Friday, November 11, with liverymen from The Worshipful Company of Farmers together with senior members of British Sugar, the NFU and local MP David Ruffley present.

At the parade on Saturday, November 12, the Master of the Worshipful Company of Farmers Peter Faulkner, the senior warden John Reynolds and junior warden Hazel, Baroness Byford - who is herself a sugar beet grower - and liveryman Lindsay Hargreaves, dressed in the attire of a 19th century farm worker marched in front of the Agrifac Quatro sugar beet harvester on its journey from Mansion House, past St Paul’s Cathedral to the Royal Courts of Justice and back to Mansion House via Victoria Embankment. “Promoting agriculture and the importance of farming is a key objective of the Worshipful Company of Farmers,” says the Master of the organization Peter Faulkner,

“Too many people are ignorant of where their food comes from, how it is produced and even what it contains. The UK sugar beet industry deserves wider appreciation as a part of the professional, innovative, thriving, dedicated and sustainable UK agricultural industry. We are proud to take a lead in trying to educate and communicate this to the general public.”

NFU press officer Mike Thomas - the commentator on board the harvester - said: “There were thousands of people lining the route and it was the perfect platform to be able to engage with them and inform them about the sugar beet industry.”

James Lane from machine manufacturers Agrifac added that they were delighted to support the event and help to promote the sugar industry in particular but also generally farming in the UK.