The oldest young farmers’ club in Norfolk is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year with two claims to fame.
Harleston Young Farmers’ Club formed in 1938, and is not only the oldest club in the county, but the only club in Norfolk, the eastern area and one of three in Great Britain to have its own clubhouse.
The club’s 35 current members will be celebrating the milestone with a black tie ball in Redenhall in June, where they hope members past and present, as well as supporters of the club will join them.
Helen Reeve, who has been a member of the club since 1999, said: “It’s quite a historic moment for us.
“The fact that we are still going strong and have lots of members coming through the door is a good sign for the future of Harleston Young Farmers’ Club.”
The club was formed five years before the Norfolk Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFCs), and through fundraising events and grants, members raised thousands of pounds to pay for their own clubhouse, which was officially opened by the then chief executive of the NFYFCs, Brendan Lachlan, in 1999.
Miss Reeve, said: “Without the clubhouse we wouldn’t have a venue or storage facility so we are very lucky to have it.”
The club meets every Wednesday at their clubhouse in Spirketts Lane, Harleston, and members’ enjoy guest speakers, trips out, and social events among other activities.
Members are aged between 14 and 30 and come from all backgrounds and professions, although a large proportion are directly employed in agriculture.
Miss Reeve, who owns her own herd of Pedigree Dexter cows and works on a dairy farm, added: “You meet a lot of like minded people and it can open up a lot of doors to anyone who joins.
“I wouldn’t be half the person I am today If I hadn’t joined Harleston Young Farmers. Bit by bit it has helped my confidence grow and I’ve gone all the way up to committees in Norfolk, the eastern area and then to national.”
Most recently, Miss Reeve was chairman of the agriculture and rural affairs committee, a steering group for the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs.
The old photograph above was discovered in an attic a few months ago and was passed to a former club chairman, David Cobbald, who recognised a few of the faces as founder members.
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