Stoke-by-Nayland/Huntingfield: Poultry farmer’s delight at turkey show win

Huntingfield Poultry farmer Jeremy Blackmore has been coming to TW Gaze's Diss sales since 1980. Pi

Huntingfield Poultry farmer Jeremy Blackmore has been coming to TW Gaze's Diss sales since 1980. Pic for feature on the traditional auction of turkeys,geese,ducksand chickens the week before Christmas. Photo: Nick Butcher Copy: Emily Dennis For: EDP Archant © 2008 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Archant © 2008

Poultry farmer Jeremy Blackmore missed out on the big moment when he won the top trophy for the first time at the Anglian Turkey Association’s annual show.

He was attending a hockey club reunion with his wife, Kathy, at Saffron Walden, where he used to play, when their daughter Vicky texted them with news of their success.

She collected the trophy on their behalf at the annual show, which was held at Stoke-by-Nayland.

Mr Blackmore’s father Richard began rearing turkeys more than 50 years ago when the family farmed near Saffron Walden. They moved to Low Farm, Huntingfield, near Halesworth, in 1981 because “land near Stansted airport was just getting too expensive.” They developed the turkey enterprise as well as starting in free-range eggs, which is now the main business on the farm.

Their 10kg bronze turkey won the class for stags under 11kg, and was chosen by judges David and Margaret Grove-Smith as best in show.

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“We’ve had several class winners at the show over the years — but how ironical we should win the championship just the year when we weren’t there! I’m only glad our youngest daughter Vicky was there with our friends, the Binders, to collect the trophy,” said Mr Blackmore, a former ATA committee member.

The Blackmore family produces around 1,400 turkeys for Christmas, sold to butchers throughout Suffolk and south Norfolk as well as at the farm gate.

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The other premier trophy, the Goodchild Cup for services to the turkey industry, was awarded to Paul Fields, who has organised the show for many years. He was chairman for two years and for several years was secretary.

The show is unique in the turkey world, with entries ‘show plucked’ leaving their neck feathers intact in the traditional style that turkeys were once displayed outside butchers’ shops.

The ATA is the last remaining regional turkey association, and continues to flourish with more than 150 members from the eastern counties and far beyond, and a busy programme of meetings and events.

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