Students from across Norfolk spent a day on the farm – thanks to backing by Aylsham Agricultural Show Association.

Groups of students swopped the classroom for the open fields to learn about the county’s £1bn farming industry..

The role of high-precision machinery in a fast-moving and technological industry was a central theme of the 15th annual sixth form student day at Hall Farm, Wickmere, near Aylsham, on Thursday, June 25.

About 300 students from schools and colleges including Wymondham, Reepham, Holt, Norwich, Loddon and Hunstanton, were briefed about the operation of a 1,500 –acre farming business run by Jonathan Seaman, of A Hurn and partners.

Phillida Hurn, last year’s show president, was among those helping to run the event on the family farm. The long-running study day has been part-funded by the association and many of its members also helped.

The visitors, who were escorted by about 35 members of Holt & District Farmers’ Club, were given 20-minute presentations on the key crops including wheat, barley and sugar beet as well as potatoes and livestock.

Organiser Rob Hughes, of land agents Brown & Co, said that the event has enabled about 6,000 students to find out at first hand about farming over the years.

Peter Perry-Warnes, who is the current chairman of Holt & District Farmers’ Club, was delighted that school groups had been able to take advantage of the out-door learning opportunity.

Mr Seaman and his team of staff had arranged a display of the farm’s equipment for the machinery briefing.

Wymondham College teacher Natasha Weston, who taught at Lowestoft for six years until last year, attended for the first time. “It has been really valuable and will help with studies next year,” she added. Two of her 17-year-old students, Immanuel Bajela, and Thomas Hall-Thompson, thought that it had been very worthwhile.

A 26-strong group from Langley School , near Loddon, also came and business and economics teacher, Helen Yates, hoped to return next year. Ashley Gray, 17, of Little Melton, and Matthew Young, 17, of Attleborough, also enjoyed the final stop of the day – the hog roast served by Richard and Debbie Lilwall, of Bawdeswell.

Reepham College teacher Paul Ellis, who was among the 20-strong group, certainly appreciated the practical opportunity too. His students including 16-year-old Joshua Claxton, of Taverham, and Tom Tregay, 17, also of Taverham, said that the talk about future prospects for the sugar beet crop were helpful to their business and economics A level studies as did Aiden Crowther, 17, of Reepham.

John Wootten President of Aylsham Show 2017
Aylsham Show President I am very pleased and honoured to be President of the Aylsham Show in 2017. We moved to Aylsham in 1978, but as a ship’s captain, my job took me abroad for several years. In 1982 my wife’s uncle, John Thornton, then local director of Barclays Bank was President of the Show and he persuaded me to get involved. When illness forced me to retire from the sea, I became Assistant Showground Director to Tom Elwes for several years until 1992. After some years building up Eastern Events, in 2010 I took over as Show Director from Jamie Jamieson. My grandfather farmed at Horsham St Faith and I like to think that he may have visited the show in its formative years. My wife Charlotte certainly competed at the Show in the 1960’s, majoring on the gymkhana. Up until the end of last year I was a director of Revival Productions who have staged very successful concerts in Blickling Park for the past 5 years. All of us who work for the Show have special moments. As Show Director I was always on site by 5 am – a magical time with the mist rising and everything just stirring. The stockmen are washing down their cattle, and sheep are calling to one another. But soon it is all go and you look at your watch and discover it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon before you know it. One of the things I will really enjoy as President is actually being able to see the Show and to meet and thank all the people who make it such a success. The Show is a fantastic organisation where people give their time and energy to raise money for local charities and I am very proud to be a part of it and to be President in 2017.
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PRESIDENT’S HONOURS BOARD
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