THE author of FarmWeek’s Rural Reality series, Ian
Harvey, has been hon-oured in the Queen’s New Years Honours List, being awarded an MBE for services to agriculture and charity.
Ian responded by saying: “I feel privileged to have been awarded an MBE for services to agriculture and charity. We all make our way through life with a lot of help, support, encouragement and inspiration from others and I’m no exception, so the award is not just for me but for all those wonderful people who have featured in my lifetime of work and charitable experiences.”
From Ian’s early days on the YFCU staff he then joined the BBC NI Agriculture Department, working for 22 years both nationally and internationally, retiring as senior producer, TV director and broadcaster of farming and gardening programmes.
He then wrote for Belfast Telegraph’s Farm Trader and now for the past eighteen and a half years he has been originator and author of the Rural Reality farm diversification feature series in FarmWeek.
Ian is now approaching the 1,000 article landmark in the series, which has highlighted the ingenuity of farming families in developing alternative streams of income on their farms.
He continues to work for the betterment of farming and rural people as a Council member of the RUAS.
Ian has also been prominent in his support for Fields of Life and BBC Children in Need down the years.
He explained: “I am especially thankful for the backing and support of so many young people from the Young Farmers’ Clubs who have helped and cared for me during my three major charity rowing endurance exploits along rivers, lakes and canals in this island and internationally across the world’s largest freshwater lakes. In previous years I helped as a judge of the YFCU’s Public Speaking Competitions at County level and I remain committed to the work of the YFCU as an affiliate member of Spa YFC.”
A former Board Director of the all-Ireland based non-denominational Christian charity Fields of Life, in east Africa, Ian continues his dedication to its work which has successfully built over 125 schools, educating in excess of 550,000 children either in schools or completed studies, providing fresh water wells for over half a million people and healthcare and micro business opportunities.
His promotional work for the BBC’s Children in Need charity in NI started during his time in the BBC and culminated in 2005 at the age of 58, helping to raise considerable funds as a result of his 400 mile row across Lake Superior, in the USA, the world’s largest lake.
“As a backup team on Lake Superior I had huge support and inspiration from two former members of young farmers clubs, Dr Elizabeth Magowan (Annaclone & Magherally YFC), now Deputy Head of AFBI, and her husband Paul Quinn (at that time on their honeymoon) and Dr Evelyn Irvine (Spa YFC). I couldn’t have achieved my goal without their combined help and backing. The event was filmed by a BBC NI TV crew for Children in Need since it was also the first time anyone had single-handedly rowed the full length of the lake.”
Other charity rows Ian has completed included a 212 mile row along rivers and canals from Enniskillen to Dublin and rowing across Lake Victoria in Uganda.
Ian concluded by saying: “Last but not least my friends in the rowing world were there when I needed their help, so I am equally indebted to them as I am to my family for their long-suffering patience and amazing support.”
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