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Charity stalwart Canon Sally Fogden hands over reins at Suffolk FCN

PUBLISHED: 18:02 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:02 04 October 2017

Richard Garnham and Canon Sally Fogden. Sally, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Richard Garnham and Canon Sally Fogden. Sally, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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A charity stalwart has stood down as chair of the Suffolk arm of a group offering support to farmers in need after 18 years in the role.

Sally Fogden, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard Garnham.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Sally Fogden, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard Garnham. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Rev Canon Sally Fogden, who is Suffolk’s farming chaplain, stood down in September as chair of the Suffolk branch of Farming Community Network (FCN) but will remain as a volunteer.

She was a founding member of the Suffolk group, building up a dedicated group of volunteers to man its helpline for farmers hit by crises, or facing difficulties.

Her successor, Richard Garnham, 65, who has been involved in farm and estate management for 42 years and is based at Grundisburgh, near Woodbridge, said he was looking forward to the challenge.

“It’s an exciting challenge because it’s farming-related, of which I had have a lifetime’s involvement,” he said.

Richard Garnham and Canon Sally Fogden. Sally, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Richard Garnham and Canon Sally Fogden. Sally, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sally, now aged 77, who is involved in various farming and rural charities and causes including the Addington Fund, said organisations often worked together to help people.

“It’s a very long stint. I just got into it and did it but the people we are working with are a lovely group. It has been a huge privilege to chair it and I’m very pleased that Richard has taken it on,” she said.

“I’m pleased because I know it’s in very good hands. It has been a delight because it’s not an argumentative group.”

Over the years, she has supported many farmers through FCN’s helpline, which can be a lifeline to farmers, who sometimes lead quite isolated existences.

Richard Garnham and Canon Sally Fogden. Sally, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN Richard Garnham and Canon Sally Fogden. Sally, who is Suffolk farm chaplain, has been chair of the Suffolk branch of FCN (Farming Community Network) which she was involved in setting up. She's now passing on the reins to Richard. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Calls come in from across the UK, and, where appropriate, local volunteers will be sent out to farmers to offer further practical help.

The strength of the group is in offering such help, with volunteers listening and supporting, while “walking with” those in need of help.

“It is, I think, a bit of a lifeline because the people who man it have all got a farming understanding. They are in that world,” said Sally. “I think it is quite important to have people who understand where they are coming from.”

The volunteers deal with callers with a wide range of issues, from stress and mental health problems, and isolation and family problems to practical challenges such as problems with Single Farm Payments. The FCN helpline number is 03000 111 999.

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