WEST and Mid Antrim Ulster Farmers’ Union Groups have formed a ‘Farmers Choir’.
In early October 25 members attended, both ladies and gentlemen, under choir mistress Karen Diamond who was absolutely brilliant at making the choir practices great fun and very energising for all who attended.
On December 11 the choir held a UFU 100th Anniversary Christmas celebration in the Ross Park Hotel. Over 300 people attended and it proved to be a great evening with the Farmers Choir plus supporting artists taking part. One member said “it was one of the best evenings” he ever attended.
The event raised £1,550 for Rural Support. A big thank you to Yvonne Carson from Health and Wellbeing NHS who sponsored the choir practices and the musical evening, also R Rainey and Sons who sponsored the supper. The choir is continuing on in 2019 with a number of bookings already in the diary.
West and Mid Antrim Groups also had a very successful ‘Celebrity Cook Off’ with the well-known local chef Jenny Bristow and local celebrities Sir Anthony McCoy and Victor Chestnutt. A large crowd witnessed a great night’s entertainment with both Sir Anthony and Victor showing off their cooking skills. £3,200 was raised for Northern Ireland Air Ambulance.
Another event which proved to be very popular was the annual breakfast sponsored by the Bank of Ireland. This year Victor Chestnut spoke to 90 farmers after a hearty breakfast at ‘Toast’ in Cullybackey. He addressed the present NI agricultural situation and highlighted various things that the UFU was fighting/ negotiating with various Government bodies.
The Groups held a two day trip to the National Ploughing match in September. Everything was going smoothly until storm Ali landed on the second day. While waiting in the queue to get into the car park, members were informed that the show had been cancelled. What do you do with a busload of people? Go home early? Instead Ivan Johnston offered them a guided tour of the city of Dublin. This was readily accepted by everyone on the bus. Stopping for lunch in Dublin they then had a two-hour guided tour of the city with the help of Joe Donnelly, a local Dubliner who came on board and between Ivan and Joe a very informative and interesting tour was had.
At the beginning of January 2019 Mrs Hilary Maybin joined the West Antrim team in place of Ivan Tierney who recently retired.
Officers welcome her and look forward to working with her and wish Hilary every success in the future.