Royal Bath & West Show 2019 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.
Richard Mathieson from the Druids Lodge Estate, Salisbury, was awarded for 50 years service. He joined the Druid Lodge Estate team in 1978, prior to which he had extensive farming experience including working on cattle stations in the Australian outback. His time at Druids Lodge has seen three different estate owners hand significant changes in farming practices & technology, which Richard has embraced wholeheartedly.
During his 45 years of service at Westcombe Farm, Bruton, Kevin Baker has been employed mainly as a tractor driver, but is also highly adept at machinery maintenance and welding. He is good with livestock; looking after the in-calf heifers and weaned calves, and is excellent at field work, always preparing superb seed beds.
Following in the footsteps of his mother and grandfather, David Barnett started work on the Maiden Bradley Estate of the Duke of Somerset’s estates in 1968 as an apprentice. Now David oversees all general maintenance while specialising on the maintenance of Witham Water, a private estate water supply with 123 customers. He organised the upgrading of the controls and chemical dosing, and often attends to problems with the system during holidays and at night without concern for his own inconvenience. David has devoted his working life to the estate much to the huge pleasure of the owners.
Robert Luke of Frome started his 47 year career at the age of 16 working for Mr Long of Buckland Dinham and then began tractor driving and milking for Major Duckworth at Orchard Leigh Park. After 13 years Robert returned to the family farm rearing beef cattle for several years before working as a farm contractor for 16 years. Over the years he has relief milked for numerous farms in the area and continues to do so at Manor Farm, Buckland. He also looks after his 12,000 laying hens.
John Osborne from Evercreech has been employed at Westcombe Farms for the past 40 years. He is a tractor driver and, until recently, a relief milker with responsibility for calf rearing and cattle vaccinations. John also does general property repairs in addition to his stock duties.
“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.”