Year of fun and fundraising for Essex young farmers

Jess Roche with Lo Kent, who is to take over her role as Essex YFC columnist.

Jess Roche with Lo Kent, who is to take over her role as Essex YFC columnist. - Credit: Archant

December is always a fantastic time to be a Young Farmer, with the thrills of Christmas and all the social events that go with it.

December 2014 was no different, with many Christmas meals to attend, including the show committee, who are in charge of putting on our annual country show in May, as well as each club holding a separate evening to celebrate with their members.

My club, Dunmow, was no different, and we sat down to a scrumptious dinner at the Green Man in Lindsell. The largest party by far, was held by Wix Young Farmers, and was their famous Vallies Party held at the Roberts Club in Colchester. There was a big turnout of new and old members, who enjoyed the opportunity to swap their wellies for something a bit dressier.

Christmas Eve and Boxing Day are two big days in the December calendar, when clubs often unite to celebrate together. This Boxing Day, members from Ongar, Dunmow and Chelmsford went to Moreton for their famous Boxing Day Games which consist of races between rival pubs, the White Hart and the Nags Head, and finish with a tug of war competition over the river. This year the victors were the White Hart, who managed to remain out of the river for the entirety.

By the time this report goes to print, we will have also celebrated the New Year with a large black tie bash. This year activities organiser, Georgia Antoniou, has put in more effort than ever before, with plans including a burger van, dodgems and a rodeo reindeer.

One of our largest achievements, certainly of 2014, and arguably of the last few years, is our fundraising efforts for Forage Aid, when communities on the Somerset Levels were devastated by flooding. As a county, we came together to fundraise and donate forage to those farmers who were without.

Alongside other counties, we managed to make a real difference, and I am happy to say that Forage Aid now looks likely to achieve charitable status, making it a permanent source of aid in times of emergency. We wish the founders, and those who gave up so much time during the flooding, the very best of luck.

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2014 was also memorable for our release of a charity single which became a hit record, debuting at 33 in the Official UK chart on Monday, May 5 and finishing at a respectable number 60 at the end of that week. In August, when our CD was released on Amazon, we became the best selling single on the day of release.

We have also competed in many competitions, performing successfully at a national level, as well as raising tens of thousands of pounds for charity! All in a year’s work for Essex Young Farmers! Sadly, this is my last column, as I am handing over the reins to fellow member, Lo Kent. From me, and all of us at Essex Young Farmers, a Happy New Year and good luck for 2015.

Jess Roche