Mar 2015 31

The best After Dinner Speakers in the County met at the George Hotel, Penrith for the final of Cumbria Young Farmers’ After Dinner Speaking Competition on Thursday 5th February. Judges Nick Utting and Ian Walton were entertained by; The National Sheep Association, The British Apple Growers Society, The Followers of Strictly Appreciation Society and The National Aerobatic Kite Society.

Team members from Kent Estuary, Longtown, Crook and Penrith YFCs showed great skill and confidence in their delivery and embraced an interesting and comedic array of characters along the way. Granny Smith a member of The British Apple Growers Society reduced the audience to tears of laughter with a selection of apple and farming jokes. Will Power a life long member of The National Sheep Association entertained the audience with a mixture of old farming tales and his views on current sheep and dairy farming.

The standard of speakers was exceptional, with all participants clearly having researched their topics in great depth, enabling them to speak knowledgably about such diverse topics as; hurricane chasing, apple growing, sheep rearing and ball room dancing. The judges had a very difficult time judging the competition, but after some consideration they placed the Kent Estuary team of Emma Littlewood, Daniel Asplin, Dennis Sharp, Sam Wilkinson and Aimee Sharp in a very well deserved first place. The Penrith team of Laura Pettit, Martin Bush, Peter Bousfield, Emily Fisher and Charlotte Wilson came second. Sarah Robinson, Richard Carruthers, Martin Robinson, James Park and Emily Abbott from Crook came a very credible third.

Meanwhile the 6 finalists in the YFC Member of the Year (17 and under) competition were interviewed by judges Frank Chester and Pat Bell. This was an extremely closely fought competition with all 6 competitors giving excellent interviews of a very high standard. Former County President and long time judge Pat told those gathered that she “was so very proud of the young farmers and the future that was ahead of them”. Frank Chester went on to say that the standard had been incredibly high this year and that it had been one of the highest standard of competitions that he and Pat had ever judged.

The competitors each produced a CV and a personal statement. Following a presentation of their achievements, they were interviewed and given the opportunity to tell the judges about their interests, academic achievements and what career paths they hoped to follow. The results were very close with Amy Swinbank from Eden Valley YFC placed first, Lowick YFC’s Alice Longmire placed second and Joanne Ridley from Caldbeck YFC placed third.

The first 3 teams and competitors from both competitions will now go onto compete at the Northern Area weekend at Hexham on the 7th and 8th March.

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