Why not be a bee­keeper?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION - by Mike Ben­nett

ASH­FORD Bee­keep­ers hold their first out­door meet­ing of the year on Sun­day at 2.30pm at their api­ary in Cheese­man’s Green. Any­one in­ter­ested in tak­ing up the hobby is wel­come to call 01233 720521 for di­rec­tions.

Fight­ing for sur­vival with en­thu­si­asm

DE­SPITE the threat that the land could be sold off for hous­ing, Ash­ford’s North School com­mu­nity farm is thriv­ing as never be­fore.

Launched as a wartime Dig for Vic­tory project, land at the Es­sella Road com­plex is still in full pro­duc­tion with up to 50 en­thu­si­as­tic Young Farm­ers’ Club mem­bers striv­ing to prove it is a work­ing and ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity that must not be lost.

Last week, ex­cited young­sters were wel­com­ing the first home­bred lambs of the sea­son, look­ing for­ward to pro­vid­ing award win­ning sheep for show­ing at the Detling show­ground in July.

Along with a dozen cat­tle, a se­lec­tion of pigs and rabbits, they ex­pect to take their largest ever num­ber of stock to the an­nual in­ter-school com­pe­ti­tion this sum­mer.

The 4.5-acre site is a hive of ac­tiv­ity, with young­sters re­spond­ing to the lead­er­ship of their chair­man Tracy Crump, 16, from Bread­lands Road, Willes­bor­ough.

Long-serv­ing mem­ber Cal­lum Til­bee from Rom­ney Road, Willes­bor­ough and his team are de­vel­op­ing raised veg­etable beds, thanks to a do­na­tion of £1,000 from the Prince’s Trust, to add to their food pro­duc­tion sales that in­cludes poly­tun­nel grown toma­toes.

Cal­lum also cares for the pigs, with nine pork­ers due to go to mar­ket and the club sow about to give birth to the next lit­ter of show piglets. There is the poul­try with a flock of ban­tams, In­dian run­ner ducks and geese.

The Princes Trust has also do­nated an­other £1,000 for the cost and care of a new show calf.

Teacher Nick Fyshe has been work­ing with the young­sters on the farm since the early 1970s.

He said: “Th­ese young peo­ple are fan­tas­tic and carry on re­gard­less but ev­ery day I am asked by them what the sit­u­a­tion is and I have to tell them I do not know the fi­nal de­ci­sion.

“Un­til then we will carry on with en­thu­si­asm, hop­ing that we will be able to stay as the al­ter­na­tive of mov­ing to an small piece of land on the site would pre­vent us op­er­at­ing a work­ing farm.”

Pic­ture: Martin Apps pd1175800

Stephen Richard­son at the launch of this year’s Sellindge Steam Spe­cial

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North School Young Farm­ers’ Club

Pic­tures Gary Browne pd1174208

Lisa Wil­son and Tracy Crump with the three-day-old South Downs lambs

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