Picture gallery: Saffron Walden County High School Farm Club celebrates 50 years

Committee members of Saffron Walden County High School Farm Club during the 50th anniversary celebrations. Committee members of Saffron Walden County High School Farm Club during the 50th anniversary celebrations.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
7:10 AM

Fifty years of Saffron Walden County High School Farm Club was marked with an evening of celebrations on Friday.

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Over 150 supporters and members, both past and present, met at the school for the milestone event and an evening of drinks, nibbles, tours, speeches, a toast and cake cutting.

Dave Crosby, head of rural and agricultural sciences and the farm club leader since 1979, said he was “humbled” by the level of support shown, both on Friday night and during his tenure.

He said: “Farm Club has played such a big part in people’s lives, and I would like to thank all who have contributed to this success.

“So many staff, parents and pupils have willingly given up their time so that the club can be effective, and we’ve had such fantastic support from the local community.

“It is a great achievement and something we should all be proud of.”

Speeches were given by Mr Crosby, founder Brian Ferguson – who offered some amusing anecdotes of the club’s early years and laid out the principles the club stands for – and former pupil Alison Rickett who has gone on to enjoy a successful career in the agricultural industry. She told the audience how the club supported her during her school years and the impact it has played on her life.

The club was formed in 1963 following a discussion between then headmaster Walter Hayes and Mr Ferguson, who was head of rural science. It started with three rabbits, but they were soon joined by a range of other animals and livestock such as gerbils and mice, bird, sheep, lambs, goats, a pony and a cow.

The farm club now also keeps pedigree Dexter cattle, pygmy goats and free range chickens.

Lessons in animal care and horticulture are held on the farm, as well as construction courses including brickwork, joinery and plumbing.

Headteacher John Hartley, who addressed guests on Friday night, said: “The remarkable attendance says a lot about Farm Club and the influence it has had over 50 years.

“It has been a haven, a quiet, peaceful place which has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of so many pupils. It has also clearly had a powerful influence on people’s careers.”

• The Farm Club is eager to recruit more committee members. For more details call the school on 01799 513030.

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