West Norfolk firm’s accolade at county show

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016
Iceni Academy Methwold Students Egg Project
LtoR, Georgia Smith, Faye Rumsey, Abbi Bartrum ANL-160629-184127009
The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016 Iceni Academy Methwold Students Egg Project LtoR, Georgia Smith, Faye Rumsey, Abbi Bartrum ANL-160629-184127009

A West Norfolk farming company was rewarded at the Royal Norfolk Show for its championing of the cause of the grey partridge.

The winners of this year’s Grey Partridge Award, Albanwise was described as a good example of how serious commercial farming can sit side by sidewith a conservation project of this kind.

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016
BBC TV Gardeners World presenter Monty Don at the Grow it, Cook it, Eat it stage, with chef Richard Hughes and Mary Kempe ANL-160629-184316009

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016 BBC TV Gardeners World presenter Monty Don at the Grow it, Cook it, Eat it stage, with chef Richard Hughes and Mary Kempe ANL-160629-184316009

Its management work has seen grey partridge numbers increase from just 41 pairs to 310 pairs on Hill Farm, Barton Bendish, in the space of onlyfour years.

This is the 11th year in which law firm Mills & Reeve has presented its Award, to promote the recovery of the species in Norfolk through habitat management and predator control.

The judging took place at the three short­listed farms in early June, following the analysis of the statistics from the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust’s autumn and spring counts.

The silver trophy, crafted by Lynn silversmith Tim Clayton, was presented on the first day of the Norfolk Show.

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016
Grey Partridge Award presentation to winners Barton Bendish Estates
LtoR, David Chandler, Justin Ripman (Mills and Reeve), Anthony Blachfield ANL-160629-184834009

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016 Grey Partridge Award presentation to winners Barton Bendish Estates LtoR, David Chandler, Justin Ripman (Mills and Reeve), Anthony Blachfield ANL-160629-184834009

Anthony Blanchfield and David Chandler, from Albanwise, were there to receive it.

Mr Blanchfield, environmental manager, said it was a privilege to win the award.

He said: This is such an iconic bird and what happens to it reflects the state of the countryside as a whole.”

Mr Chandler, wildlife manager, said that the farm was always a natural habitat for the grey partridge but the company’s environmental controlmeasures, including vermin control, had given the bird that bit of extra help.

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Thursday June 30th 2016
Long Service Awards presented to LtoR, David Spencer, John Drew, Robin Groves ANL-160630-180208009

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Thursday June 30th 2016 Long Service Awards presented to LtoR, David Spencer, John Drew, Robin Groves ANL-160630-180208009

“They already liked it here and our stewardship approach has clearly paid off because numbers have risen so dramatically.”

By giving that bird a safe environment all year round, Hill Farm has also seen an increase in numbers of songbirds and other rare species including the yellow wagtail, stone curlew, corn bunting, lapwing and turtle dove.

A pony found abandoned as a foal beside her dead mother has found a loving forever home in West Norfolk and gone on to become a winner at the Royal Norfolk Show.

Picked up from a roadside by the horse charity World Horse Welfare – and now named WHW Roxanne – the little coloured mare,was competing at the show with Kellie Moden, from Magdalen, who re­homed her.

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016
Swaffham Young Farmers
LtoR, Kyran List, Laurence Gibbs, Andy Colman, Liam Cooper, Louis Cooper, Jason Carnell, Chloe Francis ANL-160629-184229009

The Royal Norfolk Show Norwich Wednesday June 29th 2016 Swaffham Young Farmers LtoR, Kyran List, Laurence Gibbs, Andy Colman, Liam Cooper, Louis Cooper, Jason Carnell, Chloe Francis ANL-160629-184229009

Kellie and her aunt Belinda have succeeded where others failed. Before they took Roxy on she had been rehomed several times but always sent back because of her unruly behaviour.

Belinda said: “She was only two weeks old when she was found abandoned and had to be reared by hand so she never had the discipline her mother would have given her.

She was out of control but we never gave up on her and we found the key to managing her,”

Kellie hacks Roxy out at home and took her to the show on Thursday to compete in special classes for rescued horses and ponies. After finishing fifth in the in­hand class the pair were pulled in firstin the ridden section.

She said: “Everyone was in tears. We couldn’t believe we had won.”

Roxy’s success was made all the sweeter because the pony suffered a worrying bout of colic earlier in the week and nearly didn’t make it to the show at all.

Royal Norfolk Show 2016 - The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the RNS 2016. ANL-160630-181501009

Royal Norfolk Show 2016 - The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the RNS 2016. ANL-160630-181501009

“We were very worried but she recovered in time,” said her delighted rider.

A visit from a Duchess, praise from a celebrity gardener and a hat­-trick of awards made it a memorable two days for Shouldham­based Thistlefield Design and Landscaping.

Paul and Honor Welford had created a delightful show garden that took centre stage in the flower and garden show. As winning a gold medal andbeing picked as the best exhibit in the show by the judges it was also voted ‘people’s choice’ by visitors.

It caught the eye of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, as she toured the site on Wednesday and she accepted an invitation to step on to the stand and chat with the Welfords.

“She was interested in the materials we used and especially the fossil paving,” said Honor.

To top off a great day, TV gardening guru Monty Don was so impressed that he told the couple he thought it was as good as anything he would seeat the famous Hampton Court Flower Show in July.

An example of the company’s work will also be seen on TV in July in one of the Alan Titchmarsh-­presented Love Your Garden programmes.

n Young Farmers Clubs from Terrington St Clement, Swaffham and Downham Market were there to show off their ingenuity and skills.

As part of a county challenge each group had built a compact working tractor from scratch and putting it on display on the YFC stand.

“We spent hours and hours in the workshop,” said Ollie Hill who headed up the Terrington project team. “We used a motorbike engine so in theory it should do 170 miles an hour but I don’t see anyone putting it to the test.

The Swaffham members admitted they had gone for performance over looks. “It might not be pretty but it runs, drives and pulls and we hope we might find a use for it raising money for charity in the future” said chairman Laurence Gibbs.