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Thames Valley Branch AGM & Farm Walk News

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Thames Valley Branch AGM & Farm Walk News

Date Published: 19/08/2015

Thames Valley Branch held its annual summer farm walk and AGM at Nettlebed Estates, Oxfordshire, home of the Fleming family (Ian Fleming - author of James Bond) on 16th June 2015. On a fine summer's evening some 35 members and friends/relatives saw something of this 809 hectare organically farmed estate. The quality of crops and livestock was a great compliment to manager, and I Agr M member, Philip Day. We were also able to see the site of the their new creamery, which opened for business in January 2015 and later to taste the excellent newly created St Bartholmew's semi soft cheese produced there. After the meeting and tour, newly elected chair, Dr. Alison Bailey, on behalf of the branch, presented John Giles with an engraved tankard and an appropriately named bottle of beer, Bad King John, to mark his retirement after 10 years at the helm as our branch chairman. Alison compared the success of the branch with the changes in position of Reading Football Club, of which John is an avid supporter. When John took over the chair in 2005 it was the season that Reading won the Championship and were promoted to the Premiership. They then went downhill, albeit with a brief return to the Premiership, they have changed managers about 4 times, and finished last season languishing mid-table in the Championship league. In comparison the Thames Valley branch increased its membership from about 50 to 80 persons, increased the number of events held each year, formally celebrated 50 years since it was first established and has managed to maintain money in the accounts at the level it was at the start of his tenure, despite John wishing to spend, spend, spend! Alison commented that John would be a hard act to follow, but she was very optimistic for the future of the branch Each year the Thames Valley Branch holds three or four seminar suppers, "usually with someone you would not normally meet", as John puts it, one or two farm walks and a visit to "somewhere different". Recent visits have included Billingsgate Fish Market, The Thames Barrier and the Thames Valley Police Training Centre. (We counted ourselves in and we counted ourselves out, thankfully none were missing!). Needless to say the branch welcomes new members. Anyone interested should contact Giles Martin Gilesmrtn@aol.com or call on this number: 0118 9722365