Singing farmers and celebrity cooks

The Farmers choir members
The Farmers choir members

West and Mid Antrim groups have formed a ‘Farmers Choir’.

In early October last year, twenty five members - both ladies and gentlemen - attended the first practice.

Choir mistress Karen Diamond was absolutely brilliant at making our choir practises 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.

One member remarked that it was ‘one of the best evenings’ he ever attended.

That night we raised £1550 for Rural Support. A big thank you to Yvonne Carson, from Health and Wellbeing NHS, who sponsored the choir practices and the musical evening. Thanks also to R Rainey and Sons who sponsored the supper.

The choir is continuing in 2019 with a number of bookings already in our diary.

We 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 N Ireland Air Ambulance.

Another event which proved to be very popular was our 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 were fighting/negotiating with various Government bodies.

We 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 go into the carpark, we were informed that the show had been cancelled. What do you do with bus load of people? Go home early, or as we did take a guided tour of the city of Dublin. This was readily accepted by everyone on the bus.

Stopping for lunch in Dublin we then had a two hour guided tour of Dublin with the help of Mr Joe Donnelly, a local Dubliner who came on board.

At the beginning of January 2019, Mrs Hilary Maybin joined the West Antrim team in place of Ivan Tierney who recently retired. We welcome her and look forward to working with her and we wish Hilary every success in the future.