Another year closes for Holestone YFC

With the club year drawing to a close Holestone YFC have taken part in many different competitions and held various club meetings throughout the year.

Holestone YFC member Zara Robson completing the washing symbols task for the home management competition
Holestone YFC member Zara Robson completing the washing symbols task for the home management competition

The year club kicked off their winter programme on 11th September with a welcome night and ice breaker games for all the new members and returning members.

On the night the club welcomed 28 new members. Meetings throughout the year included the annual trip to Dundonald Ice Bowl, quiz and pizza night, Halloween Fright Night at Jungle NI, Ninja Warrior assault course, a roving supper and much more.

The club would like to extend their thanks to Ballyclare Farmers’ Union and NFU Mutual for their continued support and sponsorship for the club programme.

Members of Holestone Young Farmers Club

The end of September saw Laura Patterson and Robyn Marshall head to Loughry in Cookstown for the president’s award dinner where they both received third place in their respective age groups.

The first Saturday in October saw the annual Swimming Gala with four members taking part.

Unfortunately, Holestone YFC came away empty handed but a big well done to everyone who took part.

That same weekend, 12 members headed to Ayr Young Farmers’ Club in Scotland for the return leg of the exchange.

A fun filled weekend was had by everyone, with activities including a barbecue, farm tours and heading to an inflatable assault course.

Many thanks must go to Ayr YFC for hosting a great weekend and for welcoming the members into their homes.

Next saw nine members head to the Co Antrim public speaking heats in Ballymoney High School.

A special mention must go to Clara McConnell for being placed first in her respective age group, which meant she headed to the finals.

Well done to everyone else who participated in the competition.

Also, a special mention to all the individual award winners: Callum McConnell for being placed first in the 12-14 age group for beef stockjudging, David Moore for being placed first in the 18-21 age group for silage assessment, Laura Patterson for being placed first in the 18-21 age group for sheep stockjudging, Zara Stirling for being placed first in the 16-18 age group for floral art and finally, Robyn Marshall for being placed first in the 12-14 age group for demonstration and presentation.

November saw the first round of the home management competition. This saw the junior and senior members showcase their skills by making a poster to highlight a good news story within the club; making something unrecognisable from recyclable items; and matching washing instructions with the correct symbols.

Well done must go to the following members who got through to the second stage. Juniors (under 18): First, Ruth McAuley, second, Louise Moore, third, Zara Robson and fourth, Robyn Marshall. Seniors (over 18): First, Laura Patterson, second, Aimee McKillen, third, Clara McConnell and fourth, Laura Robson.

A massive well done to everyone else who took part on the night.

On the same night the first round of the annual Ulster Young Farmer competition was held with members completing a multiple-choice paper about farming and the farming industry.

Well done to all members who competed on the night and those who got through to the next round: Callum McConnell, Andrew Coleman, Jessica McConnell, Aimee Agnew, David Moore and James Robson.

The beginning of December saw the club hold their annual carol service, inviting the local community along to join in the club’s festivities and have some mince pies in the hall. Thank you to all who supported the night.

Again, the club entered the annual choir festival, which was held in the Parliament Buildings, Stormont on 4th December. Susan Bates kindly coached the choir and accompanied them on the night. Thank you to everyone who went along and supported the choir and well done to all the members who took part.

December also saw the club committee head to the Templeton Hotel for their annual Christmas night out. This was then followed by a noisy tour around Belfast on the beer bike.

YFCU once again had the presidents Christmas appeal, with many Holestone YFC members donating toys for the charity Cash for Kids. Thanks to everyone who donated.

It was that time again for the club to have their annual general meeting. This gave members the opportunity to vote for who they wanted to be sitting on the club committee for the club year 2020-2021: President, Sammy Moore, club leader, Steve Hamilton, assistant club leader Laura Patterson, secretary, Alexandra McConnell, assistant secretary, Aimee McKillen, treasurer, James Robson, assistant treasurer, Clara McConnell, PRO, Ashley McConnell and assistant PRO, Jessica McConnell.

Congratulations to everyone who was voted onto the new committee, the club would like to wish them all the best for the incoming year.

Also, a big thank you must go to everyone who stepped down from the committee.

The time and dedication was greatly appreciated.

The club once again took part in the arts festival competition presenting One Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison. The cast gave up three nights a week for over two months to learn the play and dances. This year the cast were unfortunate not to get through to the gala, but everyone put their full potential into the performance on the night and made the club proud.

February 18 saw the club have a farm safety talk presented by Stuart Mills. The club also welcomed the sponsors of the Yellow Wellies Farm Safety Programme Jonathan from Northstone Materials, along with Bernadette from their partner charity Cancer Focus Northern Ireland. On the night the members learned how important farm safety is and what we should and shouldn’t do whilst on a farm. They also got an insight into what Northstone Materials and Cancer Focus do.

Next up was a club split night where the girls headed off to Belfast for crazy golf and the boys headed to Ballymena for a competitive time at go carting.

Unfortunately, due to the uncertain times following the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the club decided to cancel all club meetings after this point. The health of members and the community remains priority. Due to this reason the club has sadly made the decision of cancelling the parents’ and friends’ evening and any upcoming events.

Ashley McConnell said: “On behalf of Holestone Young Farmers’ Club I would like to thank everyone who gave up their time to train, judge and help out with the various competitions and events throughout the year. Without your help and support Holestone YFC would not be in the position it is today. Your hard work and time does not go unnoticed. Thanks, must also go to parents for getting behind their children and bringing them to club meetings and competitions.

“And lastly, thank you must go to all the members taking part in the meetings and competitions. By doing this we can help and encourage others so that as members of the YFC we may become better farmers, better countrymen and better citizens.”

Ashley added: “Also, on behalf of the club I would like to wish everyone well in these uncertain times. You are not alone in this worldwide crisis and hopefully we will see everyone well and healthy for the start of the new club year.”

More details can be found on the club Facebook page – Holestone Young Farmers or contact the club secretary Alexandra McConnell on 07834698909 or the club leader Stephen Hamilton on 07858351186.