Adam Hen­son

Berkshire Life - - Front Page -

Iknew there’d be tears, but I didn’t re­alise just how many peo­ple would be welling up with emo­tion. The re­mark­able story of two sis­ters from Shet­land who took on the run­ning of the fam­ily farm af­ter their fa­ther’s sud­den death has moved just about ev­ery­one. Kirsty and

Aimee Budge proved just what ex­cep­tional young women they are when their dad, Bry­den, was killed in a farm­ing ac­ci­dent in 2014. At the time Kirsty was 21-years-old and Aimee was just 17, but de­spite their grief and the daunt­ing task ahead of them, the girls de­cided to take on the man­age­ment of the 750 acre mixed farm that had been in the fam­ily for more than 150 years.

I vis­ited them at home and filmed them as they went around ear-tag­ging calves, mov­ing sheep and main­tain­ing fences; jobs they took in their stride, to­tally un­fazed by our cam­eras and mi­cro­phones. Kirsty had been train­ing to be a teacher, but she told me that the prac­ti­cal re­al­i­ties of run­ning the farm soon hit home. ‘Af­ter our dad’s death the farm re­ally helped us be­cause you had to get up, get on with

There won’t be a dry eye in the house once you have read the lat­est life af­firm­ing story from Adam Hen­son

it and feed the an­i­mals. They were re­ly­ing on us, there was no chance of us mop­ing around.’

It’s easy to for­get just how tough farm­ing in Shet­land can be. It’s about as far north as it’s pos­si­ble to get in the

United King­dom, and while the land­scape is stun­ning, farms are iso­lated and the win­ter weather is un­for­giv­ing. But as if tak­ing the reins of Big­ton Farm wasn’t enough, the sis­ters have also stepped up to help fel­low farm­ers and lo­cal pro­duc­ers make the very best of their busi­nesses. Kirsty and Aimee run Shet­land’s only mon­i­tor farm, which means they host reg­u­lar meet­ings and hold demon­stra­tions for other farm­ers and crofters to share their knowl­edge about ev­ery­thing from suc­cess­ful lamb­ing to the best ways of en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple in to agri­cul­ture. The sis­ters have even shown off their newly-bought Shorthorn bull to their col­leagues and neigh­bours.

It all made them very de­serv­ing and in­spir­ing win­ners of this year’s Coun­try­file Farm­ing

He­roes Award, which was an­nounced at an im­pres­sive prize-giv­ing cer­e­mony in Bris­tol City Hall. The girls were joined on stage by their sis­ter Han­nah and mum He­len, who told the au­di­ence just how proud their dad would have been. And that’s when the tears started. It was a truly touch­ing mo­ment for guests, hosts and au­di­ence mem­bers alike. Although if any­body asks, I’m telling them I had some­thing in my eye that night.

ABOVE: Weather con­di­tions in Shet­land make farm­ing tough

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