AGM 2023

Nov 24, 2023  •  General

Cumbria YFC AGM

Cumbria Young Farmers and their guests congregated at The George Hotel, Penrith, for their Forty Ninth Annual General Meeting on Friday 24th November 2023. Those gathered delighted in hearing about the achievements of the young farmers during a year which had been made even more special by Cumbria YFC being awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service earlier in the month. 

County President, Mr Alex Sibbald began by thanking each and every member of Cumbria YFC for their many successes over the last 12 months. After speaking of how much he had enjoyed his year in office, visiting clubs, attending competitions and events and representing Cumbria YFC at key events in the county, Alex continued by sending his warmest wishes to Cumbria YFC Honorary Life Vice President, Mrs Olive Clarke for her  Special Recognition Life Time Achievement Award, collected at the British Farming Awards by Cumbria YFC County Chair, William Longmire and NFYFC Chair, Rosie Bennett.  

Alex went on to say that Olive was a prime example of the impact that a volunteer can have on an organisation and that the King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS) 2023 was reflective of the hard work of all of those gathered at the AGM. Alex continued by thanking and congratulating the volunteers for the time and effort they gave so willingly and said that he was truly honoured that the organisation had received the KAVS award during his Presidency. 

Alex brought his report to a close by thanking his Chair, William Longmire, a better and more dedicated Chair to work alongside couldn’t have been asked for. Thanks also went to Vice President, John Garnett and Vice Chair, Charlotte Wilson for their support and to his club, Drigg YFC, wife Helen and sons Billy and Jack.  Alex finished his speech by quoting his good friend and longtime Advisory Member, Mr Frank Gate who says that “you get out of young farmers what you put in”.

Chair, William Longmire, was next to take his place at the lectern to give his Annual Report, reviewing the young farmer year in full. In what had been an exceptional year, William picked out several key highlights which he had been especially proud of, including successes at the English Winter Fairs of both 2022 and 2023. William had enjoyed attending many of the young farmer events throughout his year in office, enjoying the two District Field Days and the Spring Dance held in a Marquee at Penrith Auction Mart. Picking up the NFU Trophy for the County awarded the most points in competitions at the NFYFC AGM had been an especially proud moment for William. 

William concluded his speech by saying that his round up of the year had highlighted just how amazing Cumbria YFC is and how brilliant its members are. It had been an honour to be Chair and he wished Charlotte Wilson every success for the year ahead. 

Mr Kevin Batty, The County Treasurer, started his speech by thanking the Finance and General Purposes Committee, Auditor Mr Chris Winspear and Mr Robert Wharton of Dodd and Co for administering the payroll. 

Kevin gave an overview of the accounts, highlighting a slight deficit. More had been spent on competition costs this year, which was a positive and showed that more of Cumbria’s young farmers were taking part in competitions and making it to the national finals.  Kevin thanked Westmorland and Furness and Cumberland Councils for monies received for the Service Level Agreement which played an important part in funding the work of Cumbria YFC. Also thanked were the Francis C Scott Trust for their Covid Recovery funding and Civils Store for the ongoing provision of office space. 

Kevin continued his speech by speaking of Cumbria YFC entering a new era, facing new challenges, compliance requirements and increasing costs. Rising inflation meant that resources did not stretch as far as they used to, which created additional pressure. Balancing the books will be challenging in the years to come, but Kevin went on to say that he has faith in the organisation and he was confident that Advisory members, supporters and funders will help Cumbria YFC face up to these challenges. Kevin brought his speech to a close by thanking District Treasurers Mr Stephen Rowlinson and Miss Lisa Bowe and the districts for their contributions. 

The AGM then continued in fine style, with the young farmers proceeding to propose and second their elected officers for the year. Mr John Garnett was formally elected as the new Cumbria YFC County President. A dairy and sheep farmer from Milnthorpe John has been connected to young farmers since the age of 11. He met his wife Caroline over 25 years ago through young farmers and all 3 of his children are current members of Kent Estuary YFC. John’s roles over the years have included, Club Chair, Leader and President and Southern District Chair and President. John is excited at the prospect of meeting the young farmers in the coming year and seeing their enthusiasm and enjoyment.

Miss Charlotte Wilson from Penrith YFC was elected to Chair. Charlotte lives just outside of Penrith next to her Uncle’s farm and is a qualified primary school teacher. A young farmer for over 10 years, Charlotte has enjoyed amazing opportunities through her involvement with young farmers and has taken part in public speaking competitions and stock judging. Through attending meetings and helping organise events and activities, Charlotte has built life skills which have helped her in her chosen career. 

Mr Matthew Burbury from Raughton Head YFC was elected as the incoming Vice President and Mr Jack Sowerby from Eden Valley YFC was elected as the incoming Vice Chair 

Mr Kevin Batty was re-elected as County Treasurer and Mr Chris Winspear was re-elected as County Auditor. 

Awards on the Night were as follows:

Top Club Award for the Club with the greatest increase in membership over the year. Broughton YFC 

Alan Bowe Charity Award for the Club raising the most money for Charity. Skelton YFC 

High Sheriff of Cumbria Award for the best YFC Community Project. Penrith YFC

Penrith Farmers’ and Kidd’s Chairman’s Trophy for the Club making the most effort. Raughton Head YFC 

The David Ross Memorial Trophy (Workshop Skills) awarded alternate years to the Club with the highest score at the Northern or Southern District Field Day. Caldbeck YFC 

Dressmaking & Modelling Trophy for the Highest placed Cumbrian in a Northern Area or NFYFC Craft Competition. Abbie Fisher, Penrith YFC 

Mrs Dorrie Galbraith Trophy for the member making the greatest contribution to YFC, who has not been recognised in any other way. Jack Jenkinson, Egremont YFC

Mr Neil Sowerby Trophy for the In Age Lifetime Contribution to Cumbria Young Farmers. Emily Armer, Grayrigg YFC 

The Olive Clarke Trophy Awarded to the Club which has shown the most initiative. Eden Valley YFC

Following on from the awards, Mrs Pat Bell and Mr Jack Sowerby drew the numbers for the Friends of Cumbria draw, with a top prize of £100 going to the lucky first prize winner.

The evening was brought to a close with a Vote of Thanks from Billy of Drigg YFC and all in attendance agreed that it had been a very enjoyable and memorable evening.

AGM 2023