President’s Award winners recognised for outstanding service to CLA

12 November 2020

Three members of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) have been rewarded for their outstanding loyalty and service after winning the President’s Award 2020.

Allan Buckwell, Caroline Cranbrook and Jim Webster were recognised for their continuous support and dedication to the CLA, which represents 30,000 rural businesses across England and Wales.

Over the years, they have regularly represented the CLA at a number of meetings and committees, offering insight and advice on agricultural issues.

The successful winners will receive their awards (virtually) at the Association’s AGM today (November 12th).

CLA President Mark Bridgeman, who judged the awards for the first time, said:

“Our members work extremely hard to champion, protect and enhance the rural economy, and the President’s Award is a great way of showing our appreciation to those who go the extra mile.

“This year’s winners have shown tremendous dedication to the CLA over the years and deserve this recognition.

“They are all worthy winners and it will be a great honour to congratulate them during our AGM.”

About the winners:

Allan Buckwell

Professor Buckwell, who lives in Canterbury, sits on the Kent Branch Committee and the National Policy Committee.  

“I’ve felt that my job, as an ex-academic, non-landowning, economist, has been to help the organisation see itself, as others do, from the outside and to understand arguments which will carry weight and those which are empty.

“It has been stimulating working on a range of rural issues within the CLA, learning from the members.  There is no issue concerning the rural economy for which there is not a CLA member who is a well-read and experienced expert.  It has been an intellectually and socially rewarding experience and I’m truly honoured to be named a winner for this award.” 

Caroline Cranbrook

The Countess of Cranbrook, from Saxmundham, became an active member of the CLA in the 1970s, joining the Suffolk Branch Committee, as well as sitting on the Agriculture & Land Use Committee in London.

“The President’s Award is a great honour – and also a great pleasure to receive such an accolade from the organisation which has been an important part of my life ever since I came to live in Suffolk in 1970 and became a farmer – and later on a campaigner on rural issues.

“Throughout, the CLA has been an unfailing source of helpful advice and support. It is a truly remarkable organisation, informing, advising  and bringing together so many different people with such varying interests, but all united by their love of the land and the prosperity of the countryside.”

Jim Webster

Mr Webster, from Barrow-in-Furness, sits on the Cumbria Branch committee and Agriculture and Land Use. He has been an active member at the CLA since 1969.

“The award came as a complete surprise!”

“One of the joys of working with the CLA is that the organisation has a lot of really good people who know their stuff. This means that when I wander into a meeting with Defra, I’m a hands-on small farmer who knows the world from the mucky end. But thanks to the support I’d had from the professionals, I’m often better briefed than the people I’m dealing with.

“Basically, I’ve had many years of wandering about asking difficult questions and causing no end of headaches for busy people.  I don’t know about anybody else but I’ve been having a ball.”

The awards, which take place bi-annually, were formed in 2016 by then President Ross Murray as a way of highlighting the value and importance members are to the CLA.

Previous winners include:

2018: Rodney Morgan-Giles, Tom Till and Will Bond

2016: Robert Campbell, John Henderson, Neil Mainwaring and Michael Sayer