Cumbria YFC AGM

Nov 5, 2022  •  General

Cumbria Young Farmers and their guests congregated at The George Hotel, Penrith, for their Forty Eighth Annual General Meeting on Friday 4th November 2022.

Those gathered delighted in hearing about the achievements of the young farmers during a year that had been filled with a whole host of activities and successes.

County President, Mr Stephen Procter welcomed those present and asked everyone to stand for a minute’s silence in honour of Her Majesty the Late Queen Elizabeth and those young farmers who had been sadly lost during the past year. Stephen began his report by saying that when he was a young farmer 40 years ago, he never thought that one day he would be stood in The George giving the President’s report. After thanking his predecessor, Mrs Judith Emmott for leading the way and setting the presidential standard. Stephen thanked the young farmers for allowing him the honour of being their President as YFC had been a big part of his life with him holding office at club and district levels, competing all over the country and even helping him find his wife, Janet.

Stephen talked about his year in office, including the 100th Birthday party of Mrs Olive Clarke, NFYFC and Cumbria YFC Honorary Life Vice President held at Kendal Cricket Club. He regaled the audience with an anecdote from his young farmer competition days, when Olive judged him in a public speaking competition, where he was told that he “could do better” To much amusement from the audience, Stephen assured Olive that he was still trying hard!

There were many highlights to Stephen’s year, including the Northern Area weekend hosted by Cumbria YFC organised by Amy Swinbank and Emily Armer and their committee. The spirit of Cumbria YFC shone through with some excellent competition results across the weekend. Drigg YFC’s production of “Cinders” at the NFYFC finals was a standout performance and County Chairman Robbie Tuer’s success in taking 1st place in the NFYFC final of the Senior Member of the Year and winning the award for the best speech at the AGM was really good to see.

Stephen acknowledged that all the events and activities would not be possible if it was not for the funding and grants received from Cumbria County Council, the Francis C Scott Trust and the Cumbria Community Foundation. The continued help and support from these organisations and also from Civils Store and many other organisations who give help in kind was important in keeping Cumbria YFC running and is very much appreciated. 

Stephen brought his report to a close by thanking his wife Janet and children Craig and Kerry, the young farmer team, Mrs Gill Winspear and Mr Neil Sowerby, his district counterparts. County Office staff were thanked for keeping the wheels turning in difficult times. County Vice Chairman, Will Longmire for chauffeuring him around the county and County Chairman for leading from the front and providing encouragement when needed. The biggest thank you of all was to all the members who had made Stephen feel so welcome and made the last year one of the best and one that Stephen will never forget. 

Chair Robbie Tuer gave a confident and entertaining Annual Report reviewing the young farmer year in full. Robbie praised the young farmers for their community involvement; helping to clear up after Storm Arwen, collecting donations for the Ukraine appeal and raising an incredible £43, 658.19 for charity in the space of 12 months. 

The 250 mile sponsored bike ride undertaken by Robbie and County Vice Chairman William Longmire raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust was an exceptionally proud moment for Robbie with just shy of £10,000 being raised for a very worthwhile cause. 

During his year in office, Robbie was honoured to propose Mrs Olive Clarke, OBE. JP. DL. FRAgS for Honorary Life Vice President of NFYFC, an accolade very much deserved after a lifetime’s involvement with young farmers. Olive who joined the organisation in 1938, was the original young farmer and Robbie was delighted to play a part in ensuring that Olive was recognised for her contribution to the young farmer movement. 

Just a month into his tenure, Robbie and the broader agricultural and rural communities were saddened to hear of the passing of Mr Gordon Brown after an illness borne with courage and dignity. A very dear friend to all and stalwart to Cumbria YFC, Gordon was passionate in his support of Cumbria YFC and supported many young farmers through their yfc journey.  

The Summer saw the commencement of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations and Robbie was delighted that young farmers took part in planting trees for the Queen’s canopy and lighting beacons in her honour. It was only a few short months later that the country witnessed the passing of Her Majesty the Queen and Robbie paid tribute to the Queen for her patronage of the young farmer movement, her understanding of the challenges that young farmers face and her championing of rural communities. 

Robbie brought his report to a close by thanking all those who had supported him in his year in office; President Stephen, Vice Chairman Will and County Treasurer Mr Kevin Batty. He finished by wishing Will Longmire a successful year as he takes over the reins and begins his own tenure as County Chairman.

Mr Kevin Batty, The County Treasurer, started his speech by thanking Mr Chris Winspear for taking over the role of auditing the accounts and Mr Robert Wharton at Dodd and Co for taking care of the payroll. 

Kevin gave an overview of the accounts, highlighting an increase in income largely due to a return to normality and the commencement of dances, socials and competitions. Kevin commended the young farmers for working hard to replenish the reserves lost during covid and for the increase in membership. Monies received from Cumbria County Council and the Francis C Scott Trust and office space provided by Civils Store have also helped Cumbria YFC rebuild after the pandemic. 

Kevin brought his speech to a close by thanking district Treasurers Mr Stephen Rowlinson and Miss Lisa Bowe, the districts for their contributions and also all those members on the Finance and General Purposes Committee for their hard work and commitment to making the organisation a success. 

The AGM then continued in fine style, with the Young Farmers proceeding to propose and second their elected officers for the year. Mr Alex Sibbald was formally elected as the new Cumbria YFC County President. Alex lives in Seascale and works as a self-employed farm and forestry contractor. He has been involved with Drigg YFC for 41 years and has held many positions within the club and particularly enjoys organising and running the club stockjudging activities, helping members to develop their skills in this area. Alex also had the honour of being the Northern District President in 2019-20 and is delighted to be taking on the role of County President for the forthcoming year.  

Mr William Longmire was elected County Chairman.  Will joined Lowick YFC at 11 years of age and has held many positions within his club. He is the 4th generation to work on the family dairy farm in the south of the county. Will has achieved much in his year as Vice Chair, organising a young farmer boxing match and cycling 250 miles around every club in the county to raise funds for charity. He is very much looking forward to visiting clubs throughout the county and encouraging members to take part in young farmer activities and events. 

Mr John Garnett a dairy and sheep farmer from Milnthorpe was elected as Vice President. 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 Chairman, Leader and President and Southern District Chairman 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 Vice Chairwoman. Charlotte lives just outside of Penrith next to her Uncle’s farm and is a qualified primary school teacher. A young farmer for 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 Kevin Batty was re-elected as County Treasurer and Mr Chris Winspear was elected as County Auditor. 

The evening continued with Mr Stephen Procter presenting the awards alongside Mr Robbie Tuer with a number of special trophies awarded on the night: - 

  • Top Club Award - For the Club who has had the greatest increase in membership over the year - Aspatria YFC (+130%)   
  • Alan Bowe Charity Award - Club raising the most for Charity  - Crook YFC (£18,309.64)
  • The High Sheriff of Cumbria, Mr Alan McViety presented the High Sheriff’s Award for the Best YFC Community Project to Cartmel YFC
  • The Penrith Farmers’ and Kidd’s Chairman’s Trophy - For the Club making the most effort - Crook YFC
  • The David Ross Memorial Trophy (Workshop Skills) - Awarded alternate years to the club with the highest score in the Farm Skills/Farm Machinery Competition at the Northern or Southern District Field Day - Grayrigg YFC     
  • Dressmaking & Modelling Trophy - Highest placed Cumbrian in a Northern Area or NFYFC Craft Competition - Lucy Peile (Skelton YFC)

Southern District Honorary Life Vice President, Mrs Dorrie Galbraith presented her trophy for the Member Making the Greatest Contribution to YFC not Recognised in any other way to Brogan Jackson from Furness YFC

Southern District President, Mr Neil Sowerby presented his new trophy for the   In age Life-time contribution to Cumbria Young Farmers to Jess Rogerson of Pennine YFC

The final trophy of the evening was The Olive Clarke Trophy awarded to the club which has shown the most initiative. NFYFC Chairman, Mr Ed Dungait stood with NFYFC and Cumbria YFC Honorary Life Vice President, Mrs Olive Clarke to present the award. Ed spoke of his honour at being asked to judge the award and continued by commending Cumbria YFC on being the biggest and the best young farmer county. Before the presentation of the trophy, Olive spoke of her pride in being a young farmer and asked that current young farmers make the most of the opportunities afforded them.  The award was then presented to Crook YFC for their work in supporting one of their members through his illness and treatment and for their incredible fundraising efforts.

Following on from the awards, Mrs Pat Bell and William Longmire 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 Rosie Pratt of Drigg YFC All in attendance agreed that it had been a very enjoyable and memorable  evening.

Cumbria YFC AGM