Long servers get royal seal of approval

WITH more than 650 years of agricultural service between them, it was only right that the recipients of today's long service awards were given the royal seal of approval.

Elliot Furniss

WITH more than 650 years of agricultural service between them, it was only right that the recipients of today's long service awards were given the royal seal of approval.

Eighteen farm workers were presented with certificates by His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent to mark their years of service with single employers.

The awards were given out on behalf of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, which puts on the two-day show, and the man with the most years behind him present on the day was Leslie Saer, known as Sammy.


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Mr Saer started working for seed merchants W A Church of Bures in 1959 and will retire later this year after recently turning 65.

He collected a certificate from the Duke and posed for a photograph with him and the other long service award winners.

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Two years ago fellow Church employee David Rutt was honoured for his 50 year service to the firm and he was on hand, along with Mr Saer's wife Jean, to congratulate his former colleague and friend.

After the presentation, Mr Saer said: “It's been a fabulous day, just brilliant. It's going to take an awful long time until anybody else (at Church) does it. I think anybody who reaches 50 years with the same company does deserve a rest.

“I'm now going to do a bit of photography and watch some cricket, going down to Chelmsford occasionally.”

Robert Church, managing director of W A Church and the fourth generation of the family to run the business since it started in 1902, said it was a proud day for everyone associated with the firm.

He said: “He worked for my grandfather and my great uncle, which were the second generation, and then the third generation employed him and now it's the fourth generation. He's a highly skilled and talented seed machinist and we're extremely proud today.”

Show executive director Chris Bushby said it was amazing that in the modern age there were more and more people still qualifying for the awards.

He said: “And it looks likely that we could see more in the future. Once people are trained up in the new technology which today's farms require, they are going to stay longer as they become more specialised.

“Most farms these days have a small nucleus of highly skilled people who need to understand new technology, such as the GPS, as well as the earth and farming methods.

“Where other industries have a high staff turnover, the good news for agriculture is that the workforce is loyal.”

The presentations were made in the garden of the President's Enclosure during the Duke's visit to the show's second day.

Among the other long-service recipients were Raymond Clarke, of Miles Drainage Ltd, Bury St Edmunds, and Leslie Copping, of Lampits Farms Ltd, Eye, who have each completed 50 years service.

- For a full list of long service awards, see tomorrow's EADT.

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