The FWAG Woodpecker Trophy, the CLA Rose Bowl and the President’s Cup were presented at an awards reception at the South of England Show.
The winner of the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group Woodpecker Trophy for outstanding contribution to on farm conservation in Sussex was Stuart West of Upper Bevendean Farm near Brighton. Stuart was presented with the trophy by South of England Agricultural Society President Charles Moore.
Stuart West, who was nominated by Prim Duplessis of FWAG South East, has demonstrated how a commercial farm business can successfully integrate environmental measures with sustainable food production. The 240 hectare farm is a combination of arable and permanent pasture and Stuart has provided enhanced field margins and field corner habitats for pollinators, introduced areas of wild bird seed mix to maintain farmland bird numbers and worked collaboratively with the local community on butterfly conservation in grassland areas.
He comments: “Modern farming and wildlife do not need to be mutually exclusive. I want to know whether the margins are doing well, as well as the crop. We have had some issues with thistles, but they are full of corn bunting and green finches, so I just top them lightly to keep them under control, leaving plenty for the birds.”
The President’s Cup, nominated by Action in Rural Sussex, was given, in memoriam, to Peter Simpson and presented to his widow Sheri and son William. Peter’s whole career was dedicated to helping others to thrive within the Sussex rural economy. He worked at Brinsbury College, the South of England Agricultural Society, the Countryside Agency, the rural team of the South East England Development Agency and latterly, managed the small team supporting two LEADER Local Action Groups in Sussex.
Jeremy Leggett, chief executive of Action in Rural Sussex comments: “Peter was passionate about helping young people and young entrepreneurs to make their way in the world. Scattered throughout Sussex, there are many small rural businesses that have good reason to be very grateful to him.”
The winner of the CLA Rose Bowl for the Sussex Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs Member of the Year was Owain Morgan from Hailsham Young Farmers’ Club.
Owain is chairman of the Sussex YFC Events committee, responsible for all competitions including the Annual Show and Competitions Day as well as fund raising. Nominating Owain for the award, Sussex YFC president Jeff Trunkfield and chairman Daniel Harris said that chairing a committee with such a wide remit is difficult and Owain has worked tirelessly to encourage members from right across the county to attend events. Developing young people’s life skills is what YFC is all about and Owain has learnt a tremendous amount over the last year.
Commenting on his award, Owain Morgan said: “It can be stressful at times, but it is an enjoyable role and you learn a lot. I recommend that if any member is given the opportunity to take on a chairmanship role within YFC, they should accept – it is well worth while.”
The CLA Rose Bowl and Presidents Cup were presented by CLA Sussex branch president Sir Brian Barttelot.
CLA South East director Robin Edwards, said: “Successful rural businesses are the heartbeat that sustains our rural communities and our Sussex award winners have all made a significant contribution to their local area, through best practice in environmental land management, encouraging young people coming into the farming sector and supporting the continued development of other rural enterprises.”
Pictured: Left to right – Charles Moore, president of the South of England Agricultural Society; Sir Brian Barttelot, CLA Sussex branch president; William and Sheri Simpson; Stuart West; Owain Morgan and Robin Edwards, CLA South East regional director