Joan Ackrill, a former land girl, spoke at R.A.B.I’s annual awards ceremony and annual general meeting.
R.A.B.I has supported Joan with grants since 2004 when her husband’s health deteriorated. She said: “We were cared for and supported. This meant so much to both of us. I know that R.A.B.I. will be there for me should a crisis arise in my life.”
Joan added: “I feel proud to be here with my daughter, but also humbled to be part of the extended family that is the R.A.B.I.”
Around 220 people, including trustees, committee members and supporters, attended the meeting in Oxfordshire. Malcolm Thomas, chairman, welcomed four new members of staff to the charity and congratulated the committee members and volunteers for their work in the previous year.
In 2017, R.A.B.I paid out grants of £1.99 million to 1,260 farming individuals and families. The charity also helped people claim £473k in state benefits.
Max Jeffery, JCB director for global learning and development, was a guest speaker at the agm. Last year, 68 JCB apprentices built a unique loadall, which raised £24,000 for R.A.B.I at auction. Max spoke to the audience about the importance of encouraging young people to develop through the company.
During his talk, Max recognised some of the parallels between JCB and the farming industry: “Like JCB, a lot more goes on under the surface in farming than it first seems. It’s very easy to drive through this wonderful countryside, look at a farm and think you know what it’s about. Yet, if you’re a farmer you need to be a purchasing manager, a financial manager, a crop scientist, and more to run a successful farm for the future.”
Sue Lister joins the board of trustees
Sue Lister, an agricultural lawyer for Kent-based firm Thomson Snell & Passmore, was co-opted as a trustee earlier this year. At the AGM, she was voted onto the council as a full trustee.
She said: “It makes me extremely proud to be asked to be part of this organisation. I think the whole farming community is resourceful, though there will be tough times ahead. With R.A.B.I we’ve got the opportunity, expertise and resources to make the negative in people’s lives positive. I think that’s such a satisfying job for us to do and I really look forward to working with and for R.A.B.I.”
Special donation from Lord Plumb
Lord Plumb, former president of the NFU, donated several copies of two of his books: The Plumb Line and A Yeoman of England to raise funds. Guests had the chance to get their copies signed at the event.
In his closing speech, Lord Plumb said: “The inspiring things we’ve heard here today are an example of what can be done. We can all enjoy ourselves while keeping in mind the work of this organisation.”
Photos by Kevin Milner.