Bath & West Show recognises rural excellence

Six agricultural workers who have totalled almost 290 years of service between them were recognised for their contribution at the Royal Bath & West Show on Wednesday (29 May).

The recipients of the prestigious Long Service Awards have worked – often for one employer – for between 40 and 54 years, demonstrating extraordinary commitment to the sector.

The youngest recipient, but with the most years of service, was Chris Harris, who has spent 54 years working at the Harris family farm, Radstock. He began helping out on the farm aged 12 and was fully employed there by 16. He then went on to become herdsman at age 24, and remained in post until November 2007. He now spends three days a week relief milking on the home farm. “Chris has always been a most honest, trustworthy, kind person who fully deserves a long service award,” said his nominee.

Other recipients were: Richard Mathieson from the Druids Lodge Estate, Salisbury, with 50 years’ service; Kevin Baker from Westcombe Farm, Bruton, with 45 years’ service; David Barnett, who has spent 51 years at Maiden Bradley Estate, Warminster; Robert Luke, who’s worked at various farms in the Frome area over the past 47 years; and John Osborne, with 40 years’ service at Westcombe Farms, Evercreech.

“Recognising those within the agricultural and farming sectors has always been a big part of the Show,” said head of shows Alan Lyons. “It’s so important to thank those who have dedicated their lives to the industry and made remarkable achievements throughout.”

Also receiving an award on Wednesday was Kempley Produce Market, Gloucestershire, which scooped the esteemed Prince of Wales Award and a £1,000 prize. The market was chosen as it played the strongest part in its local community and had long term viability. It provides a venue for local residents to meet on an informal and regular basis, vitally important given the village’s remoteness, lack of transport and elderly population. It also offers a platform for local food producers, promoting an ethos of sustainability and resilience, with profits going towards funding a renewable energy scheme for the village hall.

“Strong local communities are the backbone of rural Britain, and Kempley Produce Market does a sterling job of bringing people together for the greater good,” said Mr Lyons. “We wish them, and all other nominees, the greatest of luck for the future.”