Annaclone and Magherally Young Farmers look back at the busy year

April 2019 was the start of another busy summer programme for Annaclone and Magherally YFC.

Club members at the annual county dinner dance in the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel
Club members at the annual county dinner dance in the Clandeboye Lodge Hotel

It got under way with the club leader and secretary attending the launch of the Farmers Bash in the SSE Arena in association with the YFCU 90th anniversary.

The club’s fundraiser of the year was the annual quiz in Banbridge Rugby Club on April 5.

This was another successful night held by the club.

Members had a successful month in a variety of competitions including presentation and demonstration, young hostess and girl’s football.

Annaclone and Magherally YFC’s busy summer calendar continued. June entailed beef and sheep stock judging practices and competitions where the club continued to excel with many members being placed in the county heats, as well as the ‘Build It’ competition.

Club members James Thompson, Ellen Woods and Emma Donnelly all helped out at Best’s farm for the Open Farm Weekend.

The month was concluded with Co Down’s annual rally night which was a great night of fun and games, with the club winning the rally shield once again.

July began with members competing in the finals of dairy stock judging and the silage assessment competition, followed by the finals of the beef and sheep stock judging.

The club’s competitive nature continued with the tag rugby competition which the club is renowned for its success in.

The next fundraiser of the year held was the club’s annual treasure hunt, which is always sure to get everyone’s thinking caps on.

The enjoyable summer programme continued with the RAAMS day out to Let’s go Hydro. The club had a great day and lots of fun with the other clubs.

August was another busy month for the club.

Annaclone and Magherally YFC held their Big Breakfast in the club hall, with nobody leaving the hall hungry.

This was followed by the club day out to Todd’s Leap, which was a great day’s fun.

Annaclone and Magherally YFC’s annual tractor run was held on August 30 with a great turn out of tractors and trucks.

Annaclone and Magherally YFC’s winter programme commenced with their new members night, when the club welcomed a personal trainer to give a class. The club had a great crowd with plenty of new and familiar faces.

For the club’s first ‘out’ meeting of the year, they headed to the Inflata Park at We Are Vertigo with over 50 members in attendance - members weren’t so full of energy by the end of it.

September also saw Annaclone and Magherally YFC meeting with the other RAAMS clubs, for a sports night hosted by their friends at Spa Young Farmers’ Club. This was another great opportunity to get to know the neighbours. September also saw members visiting Terex, which was a very informative night where they got to learn all about the business. September was concluded with juniors heading to Todd’s Leap for an action packed weekend.

October was once again another busy month for Annaclone and Magherally YFC club. October was filled with competitions and success for the club with members competing and succeeding in a variety of competitions including the swimming gala competition, public speaking and floral art.

Club meetings in October saw club member, Timmy Savage leading a farm safety meeting. The month was concluded with a visit to the ScareFest at Fitzpatrick’s, Carlingford along with Rathfriland YFC, which was a scary evening for all.

November was another very busy month for the club. November kicked off with the public speaking finals, and also saw members taking part in the group debating competition, and the first stage of the Ulster Young Farmer and home management competition.

The month also saw members holding a culture night, which was a great night to hear about the Chinese culture and taste the cuisine.

Members also got dressed up and headed to the Clandeboye Lodge for the annual county dinner.

The club had a very successful night, with many prize winners and the prestigious ‘Junior Club of the Year’ cup also returning back to us.

Members conquered fears in November as 15 members took part in a charity abseil down Belfast Castle in association with the 75th anniversary for Annaclone and Magherally YFC chosen charity, Rural Support.

On November 30, 2019, the club celebrated a massive milestone - their 75th anniversary in The Belmont Hotel, with over 220 people in attendance.

The club would like to thank everyone for making this event such a huge success, and a great night was had by all.

December was another busy month for the club, as Annaclone and Magherally YFC kicked off festive celebrations.

The club’s choir took part in the annual choir competition in Stormont to kick off the YFCU’s 90th anniversary celebrations. December club meetings kicked off by heading to a Belfast Giants match, followed by a split night; the lads, dads and grandads headed to contractor John Dan O’Hare’s to have a look around the machinery and the girls stayed in the hall for a wreath making demonstration and took part in a table centre workshop.

Annaclone and Magherally YFC held their annual carol service, which surely got everyone in to the festive spirit.

December couldn’t pass without a festive get-together with fellow RAAMS clubs, where they attended the RAAMS Christmas party.

January 2020 commenced with Annaclone and Magherally YFC AGM, which allowed members to have their say on the incoming committee for the year. The club also had their annual ‘Meals on Wheels’ club meeting, which was highly enjoyed by all the members.

February kicked off with Annaclone and Magherally YFC annual ‘That’s what I call a YFC Party’, which was a great night’s craic, which was followed by a club meeting to an Ulster Rugby match. This saw the conclusion of Annaclone and Magherally YFC’s programme for the foreseeable.

When president Zita McNaugher announced her theme, 90 Years of Change and Challenge,never did the club think that this would be as literal as it is now. Usually this is the busiest times of the YFCU calendar, however Annaclone and Magherally YFC are now faced with uncertainty during these unprecedented times.

A spokesperson for the club said: “As a club, we have taken part in a number of different activities during this time; we have got to know our committee on our Facebook page (Annaclone and Magherally Young Farmers), took part in the YFCU I spy a Rainbow competition, the OAP competition, the toilet roll challenge and the Big Clean Up Challenge.

“Club member William Heslip also demonstrated his ploughing skills, whilst showing his support for our invaluable NHS workers.

“As a club, we also held a donation point at the hall and donated these items to The Store House in Banbridge, as well as donating hampers to Care Home Staff to thank them for all their hard work.

“We continue to offer our services, whether it be collecting groceries or prescriptions, or a friendly phone call. Please don’t be afraid to contact our Club Facebook page.”

The concluded: “A big thank you must go to all club members, parents, sponsors and in particular committee members for making it another successful year at Annaclone and Magherally YFC, where the club has grown from strength to strength and we cannot wait to be reunited when it is safe to do so.”