News | Stalham Farmers' Club | Leading speakers from the agricultural industry.

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Top Norfolk farmer dies aged 88. A former champion Norfolk farmer, Tom Crane, who founded one of the country's top Haflinger studs, has died aged 88 at his Oxnead home. The long-standing club member was Norfolk NFU chairman in 1982 and was made OBE in the 1988 new year's honours. He took over the family's Marsham farm from his father as a young man and built up a formidable range of enterprises over the following years. Then he spent five decades building up the Oxnead Haflinger stud, which was highly regarded around the world.
Obituary - See left, Past Club Members.
Entry added: 09 Jan 2019
Warm welcome- For a brief summary of the December meeting, please see meeting reports (left)
Entry added: 15 Dec 2018
A family affair - It was almost a family affair at Stalham Farmers’ Club’s December meeting when three new members joined. A former chairman, Alistair Wright, proposed that his wife, Junko should join the ranks and Andrew Spinks nominated his father Ian. Our former chairman, Jonathan Deane proposed Nick Collier too.
Almost 30 members and guests thoroughly enjoyed an informal and delightful presentation by award-winning bookbinder and successful local author, Judith Ellis. The retired Norfolk veterinary surgeon, who now lives in Aylsham, took up the technical challenge of book binding and has won several national awards. It led her into a second career as an author and her first volume, "Two Points East: A view of Maritime Norfolk," has just sold out and just been re-printed. She published a second, "Curlew Coast: Diversions on Maritime Suffolk, earlier this year.
She was thanked by John Grier, who recalled that they had first met when calving a calving a cow in the early 1970s.
Entry added: 13 Dec 2018
Radio star at our December meeting - Fresh from starring on Radio Suffolk, our December guest speaker Judith Ellis will be sharing some of her secrets as a "maritime" author. She had an hour-long appearance on BBC Radio Suffolk's Lesley Dolphin Show yesterday talking about her latest book, "Curlew Coast. Diversions on Maritime Suffolk." Judith will be at our meeting at Vera's Coffee Shop on Wednesday, December 12, 7.30pm. Members and guests welcome.
Entry added: 11 Dec 2018
Inspiring address - Six new members were welcomed at the opening indoor meeting of Stalham Farmers' Club at a new venue, Vera's Coffee Shop - Neil Punchard, Ben Catling, Harry Dustan, Charlotte Hovey, David Pickering, and Andrew Claydon. The guest speaker, Jake Fiennes, now general manager for conservation at the Holkham estate in north Norfolk, gave an inspiring address. A total of 34 members were briefed on the latest developments by Mr Fiennes, who had travelled from NFU headquarters at Stoneleigh that day having attended a meeting of the quarterly environment forum. Details - see minutes and reports (left).
Entry added: 15 Nov 2018
Congratulation to the new chairman - Congratulations to Nick Deane on his election as Norfolk NFU county chairman in its centenary year. About 100 members and guests at Easton & Otley College were also presented with copies of the 28-page "A Century of Growing" publication to mark the start of celebrations of the NFU's centenary in 2019. Nick takes over from Tony Bambridge, who now becomes county NFU delegate. Our president, Thomas Love, was, of course, county chairman until 2016. And another family connection to the club, Jamie Lockhart, was elected vice county chairman. Earlier members had stood in memory of former NFU members including our former president, William Donald. A collection for RABI, farming's charity, raised £566.06!
Entry added: 07 Nov 2018
Stalham's six-figure success. And yes, we've attracted 100,000 visits to the website. The club must have many busy members or many others who are following our club news with keen interest. Here's to the next 100,000.
Entry added: 02 Nov 2018
Dean of Norwich dedicates showground tree - An informal tree-planting dedication was held in memory of a former chief executive of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association and long-standing club and committee member.The late John Purling, who died in April last year aged 69, was at the helm of the RNAA for 18 years until 2012.A 40-strong group, including his widow Ena and family, met under leaden skies to plant a large-leafed lime near the light horse ring – just yards from his former Norfolk showground office.The Dean of Norwich Cathedral, the Very Rev Jane Hedges, who was the 2017 RNAA president, led the dedication and brief prayers, on Thursday, November 1. Incidentally, she will be speaking and presenting the trophies at the club's annual dinner on Wednesday, March 20 at the Boathouse, Ormesby.When a long-established tree fell in the January storms, Greg Smith, chief executive, said that it was fitting to plant a replacement in Mr Purling’s memory.Among those gathered at the showground were Sir Timothy Colman, who was chairman of council when Mr Purling was appointed general manager in 1994. Two years later, he became chief executive, working with Henry Cator until 2009 and finally Sir Nicholas Bacon, who stands down as chairman of council next April.The president, Ben Turner, and other senior officials, including finance director Grant Pilcher, vice-chairman Rob Alston, and head stewards, past and present, and RNAA staff also attended In her closing remarks, the Dean read a brief extract from Isiah, Chap 55, v12:
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
As the rain started to fall, she invited members of the family to add some soil to the newly-planted tree.
Entry added: 02 Nov 2018
Quiz final success - It was a nail-biting climax to the latest Norfolk Quiz at Easton & Otley College but Stalham can celebrate some modest success. Stalham has a share of silverware for the first time in the nine-year history of the competition, sharing with friends and rivals from Holt & District Farmers' Club.
A combined team managed to defend a narrow lead from the half-way break and emerge triumphant by just half a point!
The combined brain power (!) of Nigel Cooke and your secretary, Michael Pollitt, and the invaluable knowledge of Mark Cook, Richard Procter-Smith and Edmund Stevens, won with 90.5 points. The runners-up, the Easton & Otley Staff, who were on the adjoining table, who were aiming for the third title, were pipped at the post on the final round of flag identification.
The quiz was organised by a former Stalham member, David Morton. It was extended to all the county's farming clubs in 2010 and a total of 14 teams took part on Monday, October 29. The questionmaster was Duncan Russell.
On a historic note, Holt has now won the county quiz five times including last night's combined success.
Entry added: 30 Oct 2018
Big investment planned for Kettle - A £3m investment programme will start on Monday at Kettle Foods to handle twice as many potatoes every day.About 50,000 tonnes of potatoes are grown each year in Norfolk within about 30 miles of the Bowthorpe, Norwich factory. And the new intake equipment, which replace some 25-year-old machinery, will move potatoes with more “tender, loving care” to reduce potential bruising to a minimum.Ashley Hicks, managing director, told a party of 20 members of Stalham Farmers’ Club that the work should be completed by April next year. About £1m has been grant-aided by the EU’s rural development programme.Dan Hewitt, head of agriculture – and incidentally a former club chairman in 2004 – said that that the new system would be able to handle about 550 tonnes a day instead of the current 220 tonnes. And by transporting the potatoes in a watery flume instead of on rubber belts, it would be kinder to the delivered crops, he said.The visitors were shown Kettle staff cooking all the crisps by hand in open vats containing sunflower oil. It takes about seven and a half minutes to cook about 50kg of crisps, which are fried at about 165C, to produce the authentic colour of a Kettle potato chip. They also watched a £1m robot pick up bags and pack them into boxes, ready for despatch to the firm’s Snetterton warehouse and distribution centre. As the company approaches its 30th anniversary next year of production in Norfolk, Mr Hicks that a series of initiatives are being planned to raise the profile and brand awareness. He said that still many people in the county did not realise that Kettle Chips were produced by about 400 staff at the Barnard Road factory. And he was determined to ensure that as many pubs, hotels and restaurants were selling Kettle Crisps. In the coming months, a promotional exercise would start with a “man and a van” to ensure their crisps stocked by more outlets in the county. Mr Hicks that a dedicated team of growers, mainly from Norfolk but also from neighbouring counties, supplied all the home-grown potatoes to meet the rising demand for Kettle Crisps. And by sourcing the seed potato varieties exclusively for its growers, it was able to have a dedicated supply chain from field to factory. As members left, they were able to sample the latest exclusive limited edition for Christmas – Truffled Cheese and Champagne.Paul Corfield who thanked the hosts said that it had been a most fascinating tour.
Entry added: 19 Oct 2018
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