Tom Oliver and CPRE Support Fordhall

At last we can show you the fun that was had at Saturdays dinner and ceilidh dance. Tom Oliver, Head of Rural Policy from the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE), was our guest speaker (see below). We were honoured that he was able to attend our event and sincerely grateful for all his support throughout the campaign and indeed for his support on the evening. We look forward to more connections between Fordhall and CPRE.

An exerpt from his speech

It’s not often that there’s a chance to celebrate something that is almost too good to be true. But in the case of the saving of Fordhall Farm, it is possible to do this. Because today, thanks to the commitment of Charlotte and Ben Hollins, Sophie Hopkins and their army of supporters, the farm which has been managed by their family for generations is now permanently secure. It has a future at a time when the prospects for smaller traditional farms are threatened as never before. Something has happened that is almost too good to be true; but happened it has…

The Fordhall team under the leadership of Charlotte, Ben and Sophie have established a new quality in the world of agricultural enterprise: something that I call heroic realism. Heroic because the scale of the challenge was daunting, the obstacles considerable. But also realistic because these three people have their feet firmly planted on the ground, know how to do their job and have inspired others by just getting on with it, even in the depths of a cold February, when I first visited Fordhall…

…What’s even more inspiring is that there are signs that the example of Fordhall Farm is being used to encourage others right across the country to do the same and set up Community Land Trusts. There is a serious opportunity to give this new idea a momentum. This will allow farms, their landscapes, wildlife and the local people who live near them to swim against the tide of standardisation and decline which will otherwise engulf many of them. I pledge my support to help this process wherever possible working within CPRE. Charlotte, Ben and Sophie and their advisers have a key part to play in this new advance of the cause of sustainable farming and the protection of the countryside…”

The day after this prestigious event were guided walks around the farm. We guided 100 people throughout the day around Fordhall, with afternoon tea in the garden to finish. It was a perfect day and the perfect end to our weekend celebration. Thank you to all those who attended.