Why not be a beekeeper?
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.”
Stephen Richardson at the launch of this year’s Sellindge Steam Special
North School Young Farmers’ Club
Lisa Wilson and Tracy Crump with the three-day-old South Downs lambs