Tendring Show stalwart Tom Glover ‘proud’ to be this year’s president

Tom Glover, this year's Tendring Show president, pictured in Thorrington.

Tom Glover, this year's Tendring Show president, pictured in Thorrington. - Credit: Archant

The Tendring Show, which this year takes place on Saturday, July 9, is one of the biggest events on the Essex farming calendar. SARAH CHAMBERS spoke to farmer Tom Glover, of Thorrington, who is this year’s president.

Farmer Tom Glover always makes a point of stopping to chat with tradestand holders at the Tendring Show.

As one of the organisers of the annual event, which attracts around 20,000 people, he sees them as an important draw, but he also spent many years himself manning a stand so he know what it feels like.

“We make a fuss of our standholders,” he says. “They are the backbone of the show really.”

Tom, who lives at Thorrington, near Brightlingsea, has been a show stalwart for decades.

This year, his steadfast support was rewarded when he became its president, presiding over the 101st event, which will be held at Lawford House Park, Manningtree on Saturday, July 9.

The theme for this year’s show is how technology is changing the way we farm – or intelligent farming. It’s a fitting subject for Tom, who recently retired from John Deere dealer Tuckwells after 40 years.

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“As I spent my working life in machinery, it seemed appropriate and easier to do that,” he says. “We are trying to show where farming is in modern technology today.

“We are going to have obviously the latest technology in tractors, combines and sprayers and drones. We are also going to have Titan the Robot – this is our first year with him. Every year we try and have something interesting in the main ring. We have something called Machinery on the Move so we might have a combine offloading for the public to see these machines working.”

Tom, 68, who is well known in the farming community in the region, took over the reins as show chairman from Jim Macaulay, last year’s president,when he stepped down in the 1990s.

His career has given him the inside track on changing farming practices, changing technology and the people behind it.

Over those years, he combined his role as a director in that business with looking after the family farm in Essex which he took over from his father, also Tom (he comes from a long, unbroken line of Tom Glovers).

His grandfather bought the farm in 1939 just before the war. When war broke out, he couldn’t come down to it, so he let it out.

“We farmed at Feering and my father farmed this as well; then we sold the farm at Feering and came down here and grew flower seeds. Our main crop now is strawberries,” explains Tom.

“It’s on 60 acres hence I have always had a job in agricultural machinery business but we have got the farm.”

Tom’s business is one of the few “true” pick your own strawberry enterprises, and brings him into regular contact with the public.

“It’s a great family day out. People love it, so we feel as thought we ought to keep going. We have been going for 40 years.

These modern farms are quite isolated,” he says.

“My whole life has been dealing with people. I worked for Paul Tuckwell dealers for 37 years – I was based at Ardleigh. I retired two years ago so I’m a full-time farmer now. We are not growing any more strawberries but we try doing them a bit better.”

His previous life was “fairly stressful”, juggling the demands of his day job with his commitment to the farm, but now he’s able to enjoy it, he says.

As chairman of the Tendring Hundred Farmers’ Club from 1995 to 1998, he certainly knows the show from the inside.

“Prior to that I was a standholder and we were showing our machinery there for years. Then they asked me to be chairman and so I got out of the stand and did some more interesting things,” he says.

“Then in about 2000 I took over as policy chairman and gave that up last year. It used to be a finance and general purposes committee. They split into a finance committe and a policy committee. The policy committee thinks the unthinkable.

“Planning makes decisions on all the standholders. It’s quite a nice role because you are involved in all aspects of the show. We are all volunteers except the secretary and assistant secretary.

“It’s only a one day show and it’s a lot of work but that’s how we like it.”

He’s been going now for nearly 50 years – all his working life – and it’s a highlight of his year.

“I love the Tendring Show and being involved in the organisation of it,” he says.

“It’s our role from a farming perspective to showcase what farmers do but make that link with the non-farming populace. It’s our shop window. We are farming-orientated – we are strong on that –but we do like to have other attractions to bring people into the show.

“The thing about the Tendring Show is it’s never the same.”

When organisers are putting it together, they work from a blank field and think about what are they are going to do this year, he explains.

“It’s never laid out the same. It’s always slightly different. The art tent might be this side one year and the other side the next. It gives it a fresh fell which is important really,” he says.

As president, Tom is involved in all the committees, and is relishing the role.

“It’s an honorary role really and it’s an honour to be asked,” he says. “I feel quite proud to be the 101st president.”

Tom has two grown-up children, Tom and Polly, and five grandchildren and is married to Annabelle.

The show chair is Johnnie Jiggins, who farms at Bradfield and is in his first yea in the role.

“It’s nice to work with Johnnie. I have known the family for years. He’s a very nice young man,” he says.

Stands this year are oversubscribed, an indication of the standing of the show in the local and regional community. There are also a large number of cattle and sheep entries, he says.

Among the numerous attractions are fancy rats, rabbits, poultry, goats and more than 250 tradestands and exhibits, a food pavilion, children’s activities and ring displays.

Tendring Hundred Farmers’ Club, the organiser of the Tendring Hundred Show, is a registered charity, so any surplus income is invested in accordance with its charitable objectives. Club membership stands at a healthy 1,000.

“What we are trying to do is to make the show fresh and interesting every year. It’s very friendly show – I will say that we go out of our way to welcome people,” says Tom.