This weekend I was extremely fortunate to represent North West Farmers (Lancashire, Cumbria and Cheshire) at the 802nd Lord Mayor’s Show, London, on behalf of the National Farmers Union, New Holland and The Worshipful Company of Farmers.
For those of you thinking, what on earth is the Lord Mayor’s Show, it is one of the most popular historic civic pageants in the world, dating back to 1215 and is basically an eccentrically British celebratory pageant through the streets of London.
I was delighted when I received the email back in August from the NFU announcing I had been nominated and selected as their ‘Young Farmer’ representative for the North West region, and have been counting down the days until the show ever since.
And what a weekend it was.
After all, it is not your average day that you escort a brand new T7 tractor and C8.80 Combine down the narrow streets of the capital city on national television live!
I was super excited, having only been to London a couple of times previously and couldn’t wait to meet the other seven young farmers who I would be sharing this unique experience with.
I travelled down on the Friday and despite getting lost twice on the tube and abandoning google maps for the old fashion ‘ask a stranger for directions’ technique, I finally made it to The Grange St Pauls, arguably the most luxurious hotel I have ever stayed in!
After the excitement of finding two queen sized beds in my room, both for me, we all met in the lobby and headed off for an official show briefing.
Following this, we went for dinner at The Paternoster, kindly provided by New Holland.
I have never felt so full in all of my life, especially since there was a mix up with the starters and I ended up with a British Bangers Board all to myself!
Every part of the meal was delicious and if you are ever in London, I highly recommend checking out this restaurant – you will not be disappointed.
During dinner I got the chance to get to know the other young farmers in a more informal manner, as well as meet the New Holland and NFU team in charge of organising the event, including the NFU president Meurig Raymond.
Once the meal was over we were provided with our jackets, caps and to everyones’ delight, a model T7 tractor each.
Never have I see a group of Young Farmers so excited over a toy!
DAY OF THE SHOW
Up early in true farmer fashion, we headed out onto the streets for official photographs with the New Holland kit.
After the two minutes silence for Remembrance Day, the parade started and what a sight it was to watch!
There was so much noise, colour and performance going on that you simply didn’t know where to look.
We were number 101 in the pageant and after 45 minutes, we finally set off, promoting the “PROUD TO PRODUCE YOUR FOOD” message to the onlooking general public.
We got an incredibly reaction, from children cheering, hi-fiving us and pointing to the combine in excitement to the elder generation thanking and smiling at us from every direction.
Even the mayor seemed delighted with his hamper of British produce and New Holland toy tractor!
It was humbling and encouraging to see so much enthusiasm for UK agriculture from all generations lining the streets, especially with the lurking Brexit negotiations making the next ten years uncertain for most farmers, and the fact that by 2050 there will be 9 billion people needing to be fed.
It made the freezing cold and aching jaw (from smiling too much) all the worthwhile and filled me with optimism that the British people are keen to #backbritshfarming and learn about the provenance of their foods.
All good things come to an end and in a jiffy the parade was all over.
We parked up the machinery for the final time and after saying our goodbyes, headed off in our different directions.
If you ever get the chance to represent UK Farming at the Lord Mayor’s Show, do not hesitate!
It is, hands down, one of the best opportunities I have ever experienced, from meeting a fantastic bunch of people proud of our industry to promoting the important #backbritshfarming message to the general public both in person and on national live television.
I simply loved every second, and all memories from the day, as well as my toy tractor, will stay with me forever!
Here is a short video from the NFU summarising the day.
Watch the parade here at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b09ffqph/the-lord-mayors-show-2017 (We appear at 1:12:27 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing!)