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Epic farming tale at Burleydam

7th April 2008 @ 5:05am – by Audlem Webteam
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Carolyn Wilde reports from Burleydam and District WI: "Arthur Hollins was 14 when he took over the tenancy of Fordhall Farm in Market Drayton. When he died in 2005, at the age of 89, his two younger children, Charlotte and Ben, had already begun their epic battle to save the farm and to continue with their father's own special philosophy of farming.

"The constant legal fight to remain on their farm had drained both money and energy but, as Charlotte told Burleydam WI at their April meeting, in 2004 she and Ben were ready to take up the challenge. What happened next has been told in newspapers and on TV as the campaign to save the farm put Charlotte and Ben into the media spotlight.

"The end result has been the establishment of the Fordhall Farm Community Land Initiative. The project was supported by grants but match funding was needed if those grants were to be turned into actual cash. The team came up with the idea of selling shares in the project. This proved to be both novel and popular and shares in the scheme were bought by over 8000 people worldwide.

"Today Fordhall is a thriving farm and community resource and Charlotte and Ben have a secure 100 year tenancy which one day will go to help another young farming family.

"Members were delighted to welcome eight visitors to hear Charlotte speak. Burleydam is a small but active WI and new members provide new ideas and talents. Coming as a visitor is one way of checking out whether the WI is for you so you will always be welcome at Burleydam!"

"The competition, spring flowers in a teacup, was won by Eva Sadler, second, Gladys Burrough and third, Sheila Beeston. The tea hostess was Jean Cornes. Jean also sought volunteers to bake sponge cakes ( for a modest payment) for the Cheshire Show in June. Any one interested should contact Jean."

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