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Who are future stars of Suffolk's farming industry?

PUBLISHED: 06:09 17 August 2019

All farming winners who were present on the night with front row, left, David Nunn, governor and chairman of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, and farm managerTony Buttle, back row, first left  Picture: JOHN NICE

All farming winners who were present on the night with front row, left, David Nunn, governor and chairman of the Suffolk Agricultural Association, and farm managerTony Buttle, back row, first left Picture: JOHN NICE

John Nice

The exceptional achievements of Suffolk farming students has been celebrated at an awards event.

From left, David Nunn, guest presenter Laura Buckingham and interim deputy principal at Otley Jo Frith Williams  Picture: JOHN NICEFrom left, David Nunn, guest presenter Laura Buckingham and interim deputy principal at Otley Jo Frith Williams Picture: JOHN NICE

The Otley campus of Easton and Otley College hosted its annual awards night, which brought together some of the farming industry's rising stars.

What's set to be the last end-of-year students' awards evening at Otley campus while part of Easton and Otley College brought together some future farming stars of the industry.

MORE - Easton and Otley College and an opportunity that was missed

The college is set to broken up at the end of 2019 with Otley campus merging with Suffolk New College and the Easton campus merging with City College Norwich.

More than 200 guests attended the event, with deputy principle Jo Frith-Williams acting as master of ceremonies, and emerging farm leader Laura Buckingham of farming co-operative Fram Farmers taking to the stage as guest speaker.

Student winners Iona Cooper, Jonny Goodchild and Lily Stock  Picture: JOHN NICEStudent winners Iona Cooper, Jonny Goodchild and Lily Stock Picture: JOHN NICE

"I've been told that you are the best of the best so it's a real honour talking to you," Ms Buckingham told them.

"Your awards can be a passport to your career. The hardest step is the first step - but take the first step and you will be able to progress. And don't let anyone tell you that you can't achieve your dreams."

Ms Frith- Williams expressed delight at celebrating the achievements of college's students.

"I am so proud of each one of you. I wish you the very best of luck. You will always be part of our history."

David Nunn thanking Otley college for its efforts at the 2019 Suffolk Show on behalf of the Suffolk Agricultural Association  Picture: JOHN NICEDavid Nunn thanking Otley college for its efforts at the 2019 Suffolk Show on behalf of the Suffolk Agricultural Association Picture: JOHN NICE

College governor and chairman of the Suffolk Agricultural Association David Nunn thanked the college for its ongoing support at its flagship annual event, the Suffolk Show," he said.

"We very much appreciate the work that goes in to supporting the Suffolk Show.

"I counted up over 100 students who helped us this year and it is so important that people take part in the biggest county show that we have. I'd like to thank everybody for the extra effort that you put in to making the show such a success."

Winners on the night included Jonny Goodchild who received the James Stamper agricultural prize - an award sponsored by former college governor James Stamper.

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Mr Goodchild, from Hitcham, near Stowmarket, said he would recommend the college to others.

"I was told that Mr Stamper is a great supporter of the college who is keen to support young people coming into the industry - so it was a proud moment to win the award. I've worked hard and tried my best and the tutors have been great," he said.

Lily Stock from Stoke by Nayland scooped two awards - the agriculture industries confederation book prize and the Robert Black award for most improved student, sponsored by college stalwart and former governor Robert Black.

"It's great to win these awards and they will be good for my CV. This will be my last time at Otley for a while and I will miss it. You make friends for life," she said.

She is now due to travel to Australia to work on a farm for a year before returning to the UK to continue her career in 2020.

Iona Cooper from Ipswich picked up the Sally Pearson Rosebowl Prize for her efforts throughout the year.

"I didn't know I had won anything until I looked in the prize evening programme," she said.

It was a bit of a shock but it's something I have achieved that I can be proud of.

"The highlight for me has been working with the livestock and learning from the lecturers. I come from a non-farming background so this has been a fresh start for me and I've really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to coming back next year."

A team award was also handed out to agricultural students who competed in livestock competitions at the 2019 Suffolk Show.

The team comprised Alfie Warne, Alex Fearn, Iona Cooper, Angus Rumball, Jonny Goodchild, Lily Stock, George Crooks, Tony Dunn, Josh Clark, Livvy Rudd, James Pettit, Michael Bull and Oliver Johnson.

Farm manager Tony Buttle said: "It's been another great 12 months for agriculture at Otley. As a college, we are determined to keep flying the flag for farming and it was a nice way to end the year by rewarding students for their efforts."

Construction student Rebekka Bunting was crowned Otley student of the year.

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