National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

12 May 2011

Cheers and a few tears were the order of the day as more than 650 Young Farmers’ Clubs members and VIPs packed into the annual general meeting in the Spanish Hall of Blackpool’s Winter Gardens to conduct the federation’s business and celebrate the year’s achievements.

Federation representatives from across England and Wales travelled to the annual convention in greater numbers than seen in the past couple of years for a jam-packed agenda which included a final official engagement for retiring NFYFC president Lionel Hill MBE after five years’ tireless work for Young Farmers’ Clubs.

Minute’s silence

Proceedings opened with a minute’s silence in memory of Ken Unwin MBE and David Gillam. Ken, who was regarded as the father figure of Staffordshire farmers, died on 6 December. He was heavily involved with Cheadle YFC, and went on to be president and honorary life president of Staffordshire YFC. David, along with his wife Valerie Baker-Gillam, was a driving force behind the Three Counties Ball, one of the main fundraisers for Wiltshire, Somerset and Gloucestershire YFCs.

Election of NFYFC president

Proposing Countryfile and One Show presenter Matt Baker as NFYFC president, this year’s personal development steering group chairwoman Claire Swinburne (County Durham YFC) described Matt as “a president many a young farmer can aspire to” adding that NFYFC could look to him to promote awareness of the organisation in the wider community.  Events chairwoman Hollie Harris (East Riding of Yorkshire) second the motion, pronouncing him “The One for the job”.

Once Matt had received his president's badge from 2010 chairwoman Helen Roberts, Lionel quipped that he had once been as good looking as Matt prior to 50 years with YFC, and that he was invoicing Matt for £1,076 which is what his grandchildren had spent voting for Matt in the Strictly Come Dancing competition.

A delighted Mr Baker told the federation: “It is a real honour. I know that Lionel is much loved by all of you and you are incredibly grateful to the legend that is Lionel. He has travelled the length and breadth and hasn’t been home at all. But what I can try to do is raise the profile of YFC with the public so that people can latch on to all your enthusiasm for farming and agriculture.”

Lionel was elected life vice president of NFYFC for his services to NFYFC and the YFC federations and was presented with a carriage clock, a book of memories and a commemorative photo of all the NFYFC chairmen and women who had served during his time as president.

Having moved the meeting to tears with his emotional farewell speech, Lionel received a standing ovation and three cheers from the audience – before carrying on with the business of the AGM in his usual inimitable style.

Election of officers

Pembrokeshire’s Katie Davies and Lancashire’s Katie Delaney proposed and seconded the motion that the 2010 deputy presidents be thanked for their services to the federation over the past year and that the following be elected for the year from May 2011-2012: Christopher Hunt (Eastern area), David Herbert (East Midlands area) Gary Davies (Northern area), Alethea Snelling (South-east area), John Lee FRAgs (South-west area), Gwynne Davies (Wales) and David Heminsley (West Midlands area).

Annual report and audited accounts

NFYFC chairwoman for 2010 Helen Roberts and the year's senior officer team of Katherine Sealy (ARAC),  Rob Cann (personal development), James Sage (competitions), Rhiannon Rees (events), and Enfys Evans (Wales YFC), presented the annual report (which is available to download online, with hard copies from NFYFC on request).

Gwent’s Mark Williams and Lancashire’s Sam Ainscow proposed and seconded the motion from NFYFC council that the audited accounts for 2010 as printed be adopted and Michael Harwood & Co be thanked for their services, and that Grant Thornton UK LLP be appointed as auditors for 2011.


National subscription (national levy)

A motion that the gross national subscription for September 2011 to August 2012 be increased by 10 per cent (approximately £1.04 per member) was proposed by Warwickshire’s Anna Blythe, in a speech which also won her the Sydney Fawcett Trophy for the member making the greatest contribution to the democratic proceedings at the AGM, and seconded by Kent’s Lucy Puttick.

Radnor’s Jonathan Williams and Pembrokeshire’s Aled Johnson proposed and seconded the amendment that the increase should be 5 per cent, which was carried when put to the vote.

Young Farmers Ambassadors (YFC)

Discovery continues to receive generous support from YFC, an association of past YFC members who have all travelled with NFYFC’s travel and exchange programme. YFA members help run the selection days and hosting arrangements and financial support. Staffordshire’s Donna Tavernor presented a cheque for £4,000 to Lionel Hill.

YFA scholars, Uttoxeter YFC's Jeffrey Goodwin and Cornwall's Emma Ead, also received cheques on behalf of YFA. Jeffrey will be travelling to Germany and Emma to Canada.

Rural Youth Trust

Rural Youth Trust presented a cheque for £16,000 to CEO Diane Calvert to help with the future of YFC by funding a strategic review and business plan for the organisation. The trust was set up as an independent charity to help all rural youth organisations and also offers and automatic grant of £500 to help start up new YFCs.




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