CLA celebrates rural champions at the South of England Show

25 October 2013

Two top rural awards were presented on the CLA stand at the South of England Show on Thursday 6 June.

Show President, Miss Penelope Keith presented the Woodpecker Trophy, donated by Paul Cobb and Prim Duplessis of the disbanded Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), to Nick and Harriet Lear of Knowlands Farm, for making an "outstanding contribution to the environment in Sussex".

Prim Duplessis said: "Knowlands Farm is an exemplar of whole farm conservation and integrated farm management – the essence of the FWAG ethos. The 110ha of mixed farmland, north of Barcombe in East Sussex on the Bevern stream, in the River Ouse catchment, makes the best of the land whilst giving something back. Commercially, it is comprised of arable, permanent pasture, and some temporary grass, supporting sheep, beef cattle and combinable crops. The farm is bisected by Knowlands Wood which is Semi Natural Ancient Woodland, and an area of floodplain grassland around the Bevern."

Nick and Harriet Lear said they were "delighted" to be given the Woodpecker Trophy, at the show at Ardingly, West Sussex.

Show President, Miss Penelope Keith also presented the Sussex CLA President's Business and Community Award for contribution to the rural community in Sussex to Anne-Marie Bur who has spent the last twenty years championing links between people – especially children and schools - and local producers.

Jeremy Leggett Chief Executive of Action in Rural Sussex who nominated Anne-Marie said: "Anne-Marie's recent focus has been on community orchards and especially on finding and promoting Sussex varieties of apples and getting them re-established in Sussex. She has worked extensively with schools on farm visits and helping teachers to build this into the curriculum and assisted farmers in dealing with visits. Her commitment to this whole area is remarkable and has culminated in the last year being co-author with Prof. Brian Short of the book: Apples and Orchards in Sussex that has been published by Action in Rural Sussex and the Brighton Permaculture Trust."

To finish the drinks reception and prize giving, CLA Sussex Chairman Leo Hickish spoke about recent CLA activity and lobbying successes including bTB in Sussex, CAP reform and permitted development rights in planning: "The CLA protects the right for you to run your business and make a profit from your land despite the challenging economic environment that we find ourselves in."

The CLA stand was also visited by Parliamentary Under Secretary for DEFRA Lord de Mauley who showed a keen interest in the work of the CLA South East team.

For further pictures from the show please click HERE