LEDBURY Young Farmers are celebrating their 80th birthday this year.

Young Farmers clubs are one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK dedicated to young people who have a love for agriculture and rural life.

Led by young people, for young people, our Young Farmers' Clubs provide their 23,000 members aged 10 to 28 with a unique opportunity to develop skills, work with their local communities, travel abroad, take part in a varied competitions programme and enjoy a dynamic social life.

We took time out to speak to Harry Skittery, chairman of Ledbury Young Farmers about the club.

What is your name and position in Ledbury YFC?

Harry Skittery, Chairman

What is Ledbury YFC?

Ledbury Young Farmers Club is one of 14 clubs in Herefordshire, and one of over 500 clubs in England and Wales, flying under the flag of the National Federation of Young Farmer's Clubs, a charity organisation.

Since its creation in 1943, Ledbury YFC has crucially supported young people, particularly those in agricultural professions and backgrounds, offering them an important social life in what can be a very isolated profession, resulting in countless friendships and companionships over the years. It is also quite amusing to look back over the previous decades and count the number of marriages and relationships that have blossomed from the club, for which myself, and many other current members of the club are a product of!

How often do you meet?

1-2 times a week, Wednesday night is the designated night, with the intention of having one formal meeting a month.

What sort of things do you do in Ledbury YFC?

Our activities can generally be split into three categories; socials, competitions, and fundraisers.

In terms of socials we try and cater for each of our members, which is quite the challenge with the age ranges! These can be more informal and fun activities such as go-karting and ten-pin bowling, and also more informative activities like lambing and hop-harvest tours with local farmers. And it wouldn't be YFC without the odd party of course!

The YFC calendar is also stacked with competitions for all age groups. Competitions range from public speaking, to hedge-laying, wheel barrow racing! All of these lead to the climax of the Herefordshire YFC year at Rally Day, where competitions are held throughout the day, with a good old fashioned party in the evening!

Fundraising for local and national charities is also an important aspect of all YFCs, and something we pride ourselves on doing at Ledbury for selected charities, picked each year. Along with raising funds for the club, this years selected charities are Macmillan Cancer Research, We are Farming Minds, and West Midlands Air Ambulance. Since September we have raised over £1,000, thanks to our Bingo Night and our annual selling of Holy and Mistletoes in Ledbury, something we have done for over 15 years now! Further fundraisers are planned for coming months so keep your eyes pealed!

How long has Ledbury YFC been going?

This is Ledbury YFC's 80th year, so as you can imagine there is a massive importance in maintaining and progressing the club so it can continue to have so many positive effects on so many lives for another 80 years! We will be celebrating this with past and present members this summer at our 80th Anniversary Party!

Where do you meet?

This varies throughout the year as we look to do as many activities as possible. However, apart from the odd tour or special activity, we tend to meet in the Ledbury area at village halls and local pubs.

How many members do you have?

This year we have around 45 members, ranging from 12-30 years of age. The majority of which live in Ledbury and the surrounding areas.

Do you have to be a farmer to join the YFC?

A question which is often asked, but the answer is no, we've got a group which have a real variety of backgrounds. All are welcome.

Anything else you would like to add?

If anyone reading would like to join or find out more about Ledbury YFC please have a look at our Facebook and Instagram accounts. And please don't hesitate to get in touch. Our calendar year goes until September, so we've still got a substantial part of the year to enjoy!