19 May 2015
Welsh Rural Community Champion Award winner announced
John Hanks of Ty Canol Farm, Llantrithyd, Cowbridge, has just been announced as the winner of the 2015 NFU Cymru / Principality Welsh Rural Community Champion Award.
The competition, in its sixth year, recognises the hard work farmers do off the farm to help their local town or village community, with the Award winner receiving the top prize of a hand-crafted slate clock and £500 and the two runners-up receiving £100 each.
John is a dairy farmer milking 120 cows at Ty Canol farm, Llantrithyd, Cowbridge. John’s application states he is ‘heavily involved in keeping the spirit of the community in Llantrithyd village alive’. He has dressed up as Father Christmas since his own three children were small, and although his children are all grown up and working, he still enjoys going around the local children as Santa each year, giving them all sweets that he purchases especially. John is the first port of call for emergencies like cars in ditches, phone lines down etc. He has been involved with the Vale agricultural show for the past 20 years. He helps with the local YFC. John also takes pleasure from running a scarecrow competition for the village each year for all the local families to take part in. Most recently he was involved with organising #Cowsontour which involved 15 local farmers travelling to visit over 300 children at Pakeman Primary School, in Holloway, who learned about food production from beginning to end, through various methods including milking the model cows then making milkshake; milling grain and making dough to cook bread rolls.
NFU Cymru Deputy President John Davies said, “After much deliberation, all the judges were agreed that John Hanks is an extremely worthy winner of this year’s award. When we met John we could see for ourselves how he puts his heart and soul into keeping his village’s community spirit alive. He thinks nothing of inviting a new resident to the area on to his farm to show them where their milk comes from. But it’s not just about incorporating new comers he is behind keeping up traditional events locally like their annual best dressed scarecrow competition and Santa’s door to door visits.”
The two runners-up are from Gwynedd and Monmouthshire:
Bryn Williams of Tŷ Coch, Cwm Cynfal, Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, is described in his application form as someone who goes ‘above and beyond for the people in his community.’ His tireless commitment includes decades of running various community projects, such as Cyfle Ffestiniog which organises walking, cycling and fishing activities for local people and visitors to enjoy, which have significantly improved the community as a place to live and visit. Come rain or shine, he delivers newspapers locally, including a daily delivery to the local elderly care home, whose residents all eagerly wait for Bryn, who finds the time every day to individually talk to them all.
John Biggs, a beef and sheep farmer at Pentwyn Farm, Penrhos, Raglan, Monmouthshire. John has been a community councillor for the past 40 years. He was one of the main drivers in establishing the new livestock centre for Monmouthshire. He is one of just a handful of people that have been chairman of Monmouthshire county show on more than one occasion, he is also a Show Director. He is a lifelong member of Monmouthshire Grassland Society, Raglan Farmers Association and a member of Abergavenny Forum.
Principality Building Society’s Sponsorship & Events Manager Pat Ashman said, “We saw some fantastic finalists at this year’s awards and I am pleased that each will get a prize as all of them have worked very hard for the good of their local communities. I hope that our Welsh farmers will continue to inspire others.”