Past members and supporters turned out in force to celebrate Killinchy Young Farmers’ Club’s 85th anniversary.
The event held at La Mon Hotel encouraged members to share their anecdotes, flick through the club’s archives of pictures and news reports and reunite with friends.
The club which was formed in 1931 currently has 45 members.
Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster CEO Michael Reid praised the club on its recruitment and membership retention; this year eight new members joined and all 11 young people who joined last year have remained members.
He added that the organisation as a whole had increased its membership by nearly 4,000 over the past five years.
Guest speaker Jim Stewart talked memories of the club and his enjoyment as a young farmer over the years.
President Gavin McGaw praised the club on how it had developed and wished Killinchy every success for the future.
The organisation is open to young people aged between 12 and 30 with an interest in rural life.
Over the last year, members raised a total of £2200 for Multiple Sclerosis. The money was raised through a series of car washes, breakfasts and even a triathlon where members ran, swan and cycled 85 miles, one for each year the going has been running.
A tribute was made to past member W R Neill, a former club leader and president of the club.
Highly regarded by many who attended and a keen supporter of the club’s stock-judging teams, his passing was spoke of with sadness.
Club leader Robin McMullan said: “Such was his commitment that this year was the first he had not helped to coach the club’s stockjudging teams. Any time I was talking to him through my work he was always asking how the club was doing and what the members were up to.”
Sam Graham was commended for his success at this year’s machinery handling competition, where he represented his club and county at the finals at Balmoral Show.
Emily Harris, a finalist in the YFCU floral art competition, will be representing the club at Northern Ireland level this year.
This year the club’s two ‘Build It’ teams took the competition by storm finishing in first and third in the area heat. The team lead by William Graham was challenged to build a rabbit hutch at the Northern Ireland finals.
Members Donna Garrett and Rachel Thomson were also wished the best of luck for the public speaking finals.
r Click on www.farminglife.com for more photographs from Killinchy Young Farmers’ Club’s 85th anniversary celebrations.