Northern District Annual General Meeting

Jan 22, 2024  •  General

The Northern District of Cumbria YFC held their 42nd AGM at the Hundith Hill Hotel, Lorton Vale, Cockermouth on Friday 19th January with an audience of current members, officials and many young farmers from days gone by in attendance. 

Northern District President, Mrs Gillian Potts, chaired the meeting and started by paying tribute to the Late Northern District Honorary Life Vice President, Mr Robin Gate and the Late Mrs Olive Clarke OBE. JP. DL FRAgS, Cumbria YFC Honorary Life Vice President. Following a minute’s silence to honour Robin and Olive, Gillian continued the meeting, giving a lively and heartfelt account of her year in office and thanking members for the privilege of being their President. Gillian added that the young farmers had certainly kept her on her toes! Gillian spoke of her delight at the successful Northern District Field Day hosted (and won!) by Caldbeck YFC, as well as the excitement of attending 2 YFC Achiever Awards where she had cheered on finalists from the Northern District. 

 Gillian commended Northern District Chair and Vice Chair, Abigail Graham and Ella Batey on their fundraising trip to the Sahara also talked of other highlights of her year in office. Gillian was especially delighted that Cumbria YFC was honoured with the King’s Award for Voluntary Service in her year in office, recognition of the many outstanding volunteers that had helped shape the organisation over many years. 

Other highlights of Gillian’s year had included Dyno Day with Carlisle YFC (where Gillian finally learned what a Dyno Day was!), Aspatria and Wigton’s charity rugby match, Drigg’s Tractor Drive and Skelton’s stock judging to name but a few. The greatest highlight however was the Northern District Entertainment’s Final at Harraby Community Theatre. Seeing members, especially juniors all enjoying themselves on stage was incredible. 

Gillian brought her speech to a close by thanking her fellow District Officers for their friendship and support and paid a special tribute to Northern District Chair, Abigail Graham, also referred to as “Wonder Woman” for all her roles at club, district and county and for all the events and fundraisers she has organised during the past year.  The final thank you of the evening went to Gillian’s husband, Andy who was always there to support Gillian and make her coffee whatever time of night she returned from meetings. 

Gillian concluded her speech by saying that young farmers is a wonderful organisation and wishing the Northern District all the very best for the future. 

Following on from Gillian’s speech, Abigail Graham, the outgoing Northern District Chair gave an over-view of her year in office, giving those gathered an insight into the workings of the meetings and committees within the district and highlighting key events and activities.

Highlights of Abigail’s year in office included attending the Northern Area Weekend in Hull and the National Finals of the Entertainments in Leamington Spa to support Raughton Head. Judging and stewarding alongside Gillian at the West Cumbria Rally was a lively and memorable night and it had been great to see  clubs coming together to enjoy themselves. 

Abigail commented on how brilliant it had been to visit clubs at their AGMs, commenting that each and every one is different and that through attending club meetings and events she had been made to feel very welcome. Without a doubt, Abigail added that the main highlight of  her time as an official had been spending time with all the clubs.

As Abigail brought her speech to a close, she thanked all those who had helped her during her year in office and finished by saying that she had thoroughly enjoyed the last 12 moths , adding that the district had achieved so much  and that she would encourage all members to take opportunities that come their with way in young farmers. 

Next to take to the floor was District Treasurer, Lisa Bowe, who reported that the district was in a much better place financially than it had been this time last year. She thanked the clubs and district for their work in getting the finances back on track and finished her report by looking forward to an even better year ahead. 

The Young Farmers then proposed their new officers for the year as follows: 

President: Mrs Julie Bowker

Vice President: Mrs Cath Armstrong

Chair: Miss Ella Batey

Vice Chair: Miss Meg Harrison

Treasurer: Miss Lisa Bowe

Independent Examiner: Mrs Sarah Bell

Social and Competitions Secretary: Miss Sophie Jones

Minutes Secretary: Miss Emma McCune

The district were also delighted to elect Mr Frank Gate as the Northern District Honorary Life Vice President. With his decades of service and support to the district and its young farmers, the young farmers of the Northern District felt that Frank would be a worthy successor to Mr Robin Gate.

Trophies presented on the night were: 

Alan Bowe Trophy for the Best Young Farmer: Miss Rachel Armstrong (Greysouthen YFC)

William Whiteford Trophy for the Best Club: Egremont YFC

Becklees Shield for the Winter Competitions: Drigg YFC


The District was also delighted to take ownership of some new trophies this year kindly donated by supporters of the Northern District:

Kindly donated by PFK Rural and presented by Mrs Elizabeth Barker: Situations Vacant (21 and under): Miss Rachel Armstrong (Greysouthen YFC) and Situations Vacant (28 and under): Miss Abigail Graham (Walton YFC)

Kindly donated by RABI and presented by Mrs Alison Wilson: For the Club Raising the Most Money for Charity: Penrith YFC

Kindly donated by Dr Jim Cox DL: For the Best Speech at the Northern District AGM: Miss Philippa Hall (Wigton YFC)

Kindly donated by Armstrong Watson Accountants and presented by Mrs Pam McLeod: Community Engagement Award: Greysouthen YFC

The Northern District were also delighted to have special guest, Mrs Ida Gate (along with daughter Mary) in attendance to present the Robin and Ida Gate Trophy for the YFC Member of the Year Award (17 and under) which went to Jessica from Greysouthen YFC. 

Ida was also presented with a King’s Award for Voluntary Service (KAVS) badge by Mrs Gillian Potts in honour of Robin’s service and dedication to the district. Also recognised with a KAVS badge, presented by Cumbria YFC County President, Mr John Garnett was ex Northern District and Cumbria YFC County President, Mr Alex Sibbald who held office in the Year that Cumbria YFC was awarded the King’s Award for Voluntary Service. 

Following presentation of the awards, Mrs Pat Bell called the Friends of Cumbria draw. Mrs Bell was also delighted to report that as Friends of Cumbria had increased membership in the last year, she was able to present every club in the Northern District with a cheque for £100.  

The Vote of Thanks was then given by Jess from Greysouthen YFC Winner of the Northern District Junior Member of the Year Competition, who eloquently thanked all those in attendance. Following A great night of speeches, laughter (and some tears!) and a fitting celebration of a fantastic year for the Northern District of Cumbria YFC. At the close of the meeting, Gillian thanked all those present and wished the new officials well in their new roles.