Shuttleworth College Association Newsletter

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The Shuttleworth College Association Newsletter Christmas 201

Contents Page 2

Chairman’s and Editorial Co-ordinator’s Reports


SCA Annual Draw Advertisement


Reunion 2016 update


Members and General News


Shuttleworth College Summer Ball


College Executive Director’s Report


Harvest 1942 and more


Richard Heath’s Life after leaving College


Quiz – with a prize on offer


SCA Merchandise Advertisement


Shuttleworth College Advertisement


SCA Officers and Committee with contact details


Questionnaire “Click” on any subject to access immediately


Chairman’s Report Periodically the committee does a bit of soul searching and asks itself some fundamental questions. Ever conscious that the membership is getting older, our numbers are gradually dropping. Whilst it is not an issue now, it will be one day, and we need to head off the problem of falling membership before it comes upon us. How can we recruit new members from today’s students? Are the students leaving today any different from that which we were years ago? Looking back to the time when I left Shutts to go out into that Brave New World I was actually looking forwards, to my new life ahead. I have never forgotten my time at Shutts and I made some lifelong friends but looking back I wasn’t ready for reunions or nostalgia. It was not until I was in my thirties and I had seen a bit more of that Brave New World that I realised what a wonderful time I had enjoyed at Shutts. I do not think that my experience was any different to many others of our generation and indeed to those who are leaving today. So we, as a committee, are going to concentrate our efforts to embrace Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites to help those who may be looking to reconnect with the Shuttleworth ‘family’ some years after leaving. Our website is looking tired and is in need of a massive rebuild. This is something that we hope to do over the coming months. We have included within these pages, a questionnaire asking for your views on the magazine content; what articles you look forward to reading, you do not read in full or perhaps ignore completely. This magazine takes a lot to put together and it would make a huge difference if articles or sections that are not well read are moved out perhaps to be replaced by others. Please take a few moments and help us to produce the magazine that you want and not one that we think you want. I would, as always, like to thank the other members of the committee for their input into the SCA as it is a team effort. We used to meet at the College for all our meetings but have since decided that every other scheduled meeting could be via conference call. This has proved very successful and has saved many miles for committee members as we come from many different parts of the country. I would also like to remind you that we always have room for more people on the SCA committee, and the more we have the more chance we will have new ideas and suggestions for keeping the SCA going and helping the college and current students. Sarah Perrett (77/80) Chairman


Editorial Co-ordinator’s Report Here we are again with another edition of the Newsletter. I hope you all find the contents interesting and entertaining. I have been in post for some time now having originally said I would only take on the job temporarily. I keep sending out requests for material to publish and some of you are kind enough to respond. However I do worry about the future of the Newsletter. Some of the older members who were year group spokespeople have dropped out due to age and we are still not attracting the younger more recent college leavers into our Association. The flow of material landing on my desk seems to be diminishing. Yes, I can write pieces myself to fill the space, but that does not really make this a Newsletter – with the emphasis on the word News. We have started a debate about the subject in the Committee and are anxious to find out what our readers really want from a Newsletter; what is of particular interest to individuals and whether they have any ideas to change or improve the mix. To this end we have produced a little questionnaire (see back page). Please fill it in online and submit your views. Thanks. I have been looking at a copy of the early Newsletter come Magazine, which was called the Furrow Press – I am sure many of our older members will remember it. It was smartly produced and filled with material mainly written by the students who were still at college. There was a small section devoted to past students news. I feel sure the Magazine was encouraged and supported by the teaching staff, and I believe the costs were subsidised by the college. In the copy I read there was an article written by the Principal, the Bursar was the Treasurer of the Association and other members of the staff were on the Committee. Other interesting things to note were the large number of reports from the various clubs and sports teams that existed at the time. Students appeared to have had a very active involvement in life beyond their academic studies. Interesting, yes! Best wishes, Tim Bryce (65/67)


The S.C.A. Annual Prize Draw Your chance of winning a BIG Prize Every year at the AGM we draw three prizes 1st £250.00, 2nd £150.00, 3rd £50.00

Cost is just £10 per annum and you can buy as many tickets as you wish! Details and entries from Mike Williams: E-mail


Shuttleworth College Association Reunion 2016 Don’t forget we will be holding a Reunion and Dinner for members and their partners over the weekend of May 14th-15th 2016. If you have not already done so, put the date in your diary now. The Dinner will be held on the Saturday evening in the Ken Russell Hall, and the Association AGM will be held earlier in the day. Tony Abbott (65/67) will be organizing the event and he is taking bookings from now on. Please contact Tony, by email or telephone: 01794 523040 He has already block-booked all the accommodation in the Chris Smart Wing for our use. Don’t delay BOOK your room today. Members and General News --------Tim Pilbeam (81/82). Further to running the family farm and Land Rover service centre, I am also a freelance hunting journalist for the Sporting Rifle Magazine, specializing in rifle and equipment reviews. I have also been involved in filming with the Field Sports Channel TV company on rifles, shooting techniques and hunting. My recent series is called ‘Rucksack and Rifle’, which is taking me to many other European countries such as Croatia, Sweden and Spain. To see more, you can go to Field Sports Channel TV or search Tim Pilbeam on YouTube where you can see a variety of films shot over the past few years. Telephone 07703 581630 (Sussex) David Maxfield (53/55) Sadly David tells us that his wife Barbara has suffered a severe stroke. Geoff Price (67/69). Geoff writes giving us his new address and is wanting to join the association. Since leaving Shutts he has ‘taken the cloth’ and is now the Reverend Geoff Price living in Fritwell, North Oxfordshire. Chris Fyson (65/67). Hi Tim. I knew but had forgotten that you knew my father and had taken photographs for him. Are you aware that I published a book on his life’s work with the considerable help of my sister Mandy and her illustrator daughter Felicity French and my Cousin Vicky Ward as editor? Vicky edited the BBC magazine for many years, so it was a good team. My part was limited to the idea in the first place and financing it so can take little credit for the excellent coffee table book that resulted and which we launched on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It is titled ‘Richard Fyson, Cabinet Maker, Legacy of a Master Craftsman’. (Editor: If anyone would like to obtain the book or needs more details, please email All things being equal we will see you in 2016. I had a heart attack three years ago and had to have a pacemaker fitted about six weeks ago when we got back from seven weeks in Europe and now feel much better. We are off to the US, Cuba and Panama next Monday for three weeks so have no intention of letting some minor hitch with my pump get in the way of what we wish to do! Richard Hirst (80/83) “People just don’t accept that they should keep their dogs on leads” From a Newspaper cutting; Angry farmer, Richard Hirst, set to crack down on dogs off the lead. Richard chairman of “The Anglia Farmers” said he had lost sheep to mauling and would “shoot on sight” any dog seen attacking his animals. He also said he will plough up the margins around his


fields in Ormesby St Margaret, if the situation does not improve. Speaking at Ormesby Parish Council, Richard said “His family provided some 4.5 km of walkways around the village under a government stewardship scheme aimed at providing a range of environmental benefits, including public access. If people wish to use the footpath around the fields they have to respect the rules and regulations.” He said in the last year the number of dogs off the lead and the amount of dog mess had become intolerable and it has got much worse in the last few months. “We had two sheep mauled in the spring. If it happens again that dog will be shot on sight.” “It is a real dilemma because we want to encourage people to come to the countryside but the public need to respect the rest of the farm. The amount of dog mess we are getting now is ridiculous. If they are messing on the path that is one thing, but messing on growing crops that is another. We have some really tough rules to work to. We could lose whole lorry-loads of produce. People think they have an absolute right to let their dogs run amok and we get more and more abuse from people whenever we point it out to them.” Vice-chairman Adrian Peck said; “People just do not accept that they should keep their dogs on leads. It is a problem you find all over the place.” Andrew Finn-Kelcey (61/63) Does anyone remember the days when Shuttleworth College had its own “Rugby Football Club”? Andrew has sent me some interesting memorabilia from those far off days. For a start here is a picture of all the members of the Club in the 1961/62 season with Ed Bennett in the middle, Rugby enthusiast and Bursar at the College for many years.

All the members of the Shuttleworth College Rugby Football Club 1961/62 Season How many faces can you remember?


The Special match of 1961/62 Rugby Season

Shuttleworth College v. Jack Smith’s “15” from Bedford

Pat Carlisle

Back Row:

Terry Trott

Lawrie Drury

Bedford, Ex Shutts Intermediate Row:

Simon Evans


Andrew Finn-Kelcey

Hughie Evans Bedford – Old Bedfordian

David Perry

Ian Maine

Bedford Ex England Captain

Shutts Touch-judge.

Middle Row:

Referee Peter Gilbertson Roger Appleyard Keith Stephenson Les Thomas EMRFU Tony Lewin Gwynn Matthews Brian McCarthy Mark Coley Bedford

Seated: Bob Leslie Northampton


Larry Webb

Steve Ford

Barry Robinson Bedford


Jack Smith

Bedford Ex England

Andy Deacon Ground:


David Coley

Captain –Bedford Barbarians- East Midlands

Tony Bradley

John Huntley

Johnny Walker ---------- Dave Critchley ?



Barry Williams Bedford

Barry Kempen ? Ex Shutts or Biggleswade RFC

Rugby was a serious sport at the College in those days and the Rugby Club Annual Dinner was a major event in the social calendar. You will see from the menu card the names of the Principal Kenneth Russell and quite a number of important guests. Andrew records that the final score in that famous match is lost in the mists of time, but suffice to say that both sides scored numerous tries and Jack and his Bedford Boys inevitably won.


When and Where The old Students turn up? On Wednesday 26th October I was helping my wife with the raffle at a Royal National Lifeboat Institution event organised by their Hunstanton Guild. It was held in Thornham Village Hall and ran from 10am with the sale of RNLI cards, calendars, etc. and continued into the afternoon with a Bridge Competition, ending with tea, sandwiches and cakes. My wife was writing the names on the back of the tickets, while I was collecting the money. She then came across an unusual name. Was it wrong or poorly written? Well I came to her aid while the match was underway and I recognised it as Ed Brun. She was most surprised to hear that he was a student at Shuttleworth College on the Farming Course in 1975/1976, according to my recollection. He lives at Fring, a very small village nearby. After the match we discussed his memories of the college, the course, his contemporaries and the staff he remembered from 42 years ago. He gained a prize for Farm Management. The Event raised over £1,000, which goes towards the running of “The Spirit of West Norfolk.” lifeboat and the “Hunstanton Flyer”. The latter is a hovercraft. They are saving lives around The Wash. Are there other past students playing Bridge or helping with RNLI ?

Eric Yates (Retired Staff,1972/80) East Anglia Correspondent


College and Student Activities. Extract from Park Life. Hearth Warming Tale from last Christmas Shuttleworth Students have been helping neighbours by delivering firewood. Among the recipients was Mr John Jenkins, nearly the age of 100, who was delighted with the contribution. All the wood was cut, split, seasoned and then delivered in time for Christmas by Shuttleworth College Students, to those identified as suitable by the Old Warden Parish Council. Terry Glastonbury, Clerk to the Parish Council said, “I would be grateful if you could pass on our sincere thanks to all those concerned in this very worthy initiative.”

Sunbathing with Sea Lions, Swimming with Sharks A four week trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands has broadened the horizons of Shuttleworth Student Elliott Barnes. The Internationally recognised Shuttleworth College opened up a world of choices for Elliott and his friends. First step for Elliott is completing his Level 3 in Animal Sciences – as part of which he will be working with exotic creatures similar to some he encountered in the wild. The 17 year old, from St. Neots, has now realised his career options stretch far beyond the UK. He is now sharing his story and photographs to inspire fellow students.

Snappy shot of mini Croc A premature baby Caiman was helped along to health by staff and students at the Shuttleworth College Animal Welfare training unit. “We had the eggs in an incubator and I looked in to see one had cracked and found the caiman sitting there looking at me. It was a month earlier than we would have expected them to hatch so it was a surprise.” said Sarah Aylen, a former student who now loves her job as a technician at the award-winning Animal Centre. Caimans are amongst representatives of almost every animal family at Shuttleworth College. Students gain experience in caring for the widest range of animals and insects, and some eightlegged monsters too. Centre manager, Carl “Crocodile” Groombridge is proud that the advanced levels of training and education, particularly using technology to support learning at Shuttleworth College, are recognised nationwide. “This is not just a hands-on job; our students are tutored in technology, which enables them to learn faster and prepares them for the workplace where computers are an essential part of farming or zoology centres.”

Employment opportunities Shuttleworth College has close links with employers, from farmers to festival organisers. These relationships are vital in preparing young people for the world, post-college. More than 20 employers and universities joined an event at Old Warden Park to which non Shuttleworth students were invited – but also pupils from local schools, so they could see courses open to them at the age of 16. These included jobs working in sporting or outdoor activity centres, overseas adventure environments and leisure locations.

Assault Course Old Warden Park was the setting for an Adventure Assault Course competition involving 100 students and staff. It was organised by the Shuttleworth College Outdoor Education students, together with associates from Bedford College and The Bedford Sixth Form, to raise money for the “Equal Adventure” charity. They made £645.


Planting Ahead. Shuttleworth Students took Silver at the Ideal Home Show Young Gardener of the Year competition, collecting their certificate from TV’s Alan Titchmarsh.

We are sailing Sailing is all part of the fun at Shuttleworth College. Students tackle all sorts of water sports during their courses and for some Grafham Water is used to help put the wind in their sails. Of course Old Warden Park boasts its own lakes for canoeing and kayaking, but for sailing a bigger setting is required.

Tree Tops News The famous Old Warden Pear, as mentioned by Shakespeare, continues to put us all on the map. The latest “Winter’s Tale”, featuring our very own “tree whisperer”, Lecturer in Horticulture, Paul Labous, can be found on the BBC News website.

Sports Festival Old Warden Park hosted an inter-college tournament, which is part of a major sporting initiative involving thousands of young people across Bedforshire. Taking part were Barnfield College, Bedford College, Central Bedfordshire College and Luton Sixth Form College with students playing football, netball, basketball and more. There were also classes in rock climbing, dance and cheerleading. The launch was the result of a successful bid to Sports England for nearly £50,000 over three years to engage more young people in action-packed activities. The Shuttleworth College venue is ideal, as it offers facilities for a wide range of outdoor sporting activities. The aim of the scheme was to incentivise sporty students to become “activators” and coach others in their favourite games during 2015.

The Mansion House Events over the Summer July 2015. Big Biker Bash & Retro Car Show. The Bike Show for whatever you ride! Plus, retro and classic cars on display, alongside vintage stalls. August 2015. NSRA Hot Rod Supernational. A major hot rod show from the National Street Rod Association, featuring trade stands and a Show ‘n’ Shine car show. September 2015. Bedfordshire Steam & Country Fayre, featuring many great attractions including vintage vehicles, craft and food stalls. Afternoon Teas on a number of days during the summer. Sandwiches, cakes, scones with cream and jam, as well as the chance to admire the features of the Mansion.

Spot the International Space Station Those of us watching BBC ‘Points West’ a decade ago might well recall the lead weather presenter, Richard Angwin, a young man of somewhat ‘scholarly’ appearance. This was misleading because Richard had a fine sense of humour (he liked to link place names on the weather map in a whimsical fashion) and would also pass on news of events around the region as well as meteorological facts and information. Of special note were his occasional references to possible sightings of the International Space Station (ISS) as it traversed the night sky. Obviously a clear night was required – here we received a lead from the forecast – and details as to where and when the station would come into view were given. Apparently the third brightest object in the sky, the 2 to 4 minute passage of the ISS is truly


spectacular, and today still continues on its journey in orbit around the Earth. If you would like to view this regular event then log on to to access the main menu. From the headings, click on to "Follow NASA" and then scroll down to "Spot the Station" and you will be asked to nominate a town or city. At the time of writing (15th October) the website tells us that the glowing reflection of the Station will be visible at least once each evening for the next week. It always rises somewhere in the western sky at varying heights above the horizon, and can be seen, in favourable conditions, until disappearing towards the east. It really is worth the effort – happy spotting! Peter Hares (68/70)


Shuttleworth Summer Ball Was once again a great success, this year with a record 300 students and staff getting together to celebrate the end of another fantastic year. Everyone took the opportunity to dress up and let their hair down on the fun fair and the dance floor. They all enjoyed the rides that were on offer along with a candyfloss machine, hog roast, DJ and bar. They were also able to use the taxi photo cab to take home a memento of the occasion. All photos that were taken on the night were put on to the Shuttleworth Summer Ball 2015 Facebook page for students to access.

A new addition this year, the Helter Skelter

Dodgems always a favourite, always a queue.


SHUTTLEWORTH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT The new academic year has started well. Tutors tell me that the students are settling in well. The difficulties that we had with the lower level students and behaviour last year appear to have been resolved and students are making a much better transition from school to college. Recruitment has been very good once again; full-time numbers are exactly (+1) the same as last year at 603, which is very encouraging as we are acutely aware of the competition from schools and sixth forms. Frustratingly the recruitment is less equally distributed across the College and whilst Agriculture and Animal Care have recruited very strongly, Fisheries and Equine have lower group sizes. As they carry a high weighting, these students are attractive to us, although we clearly need to manage the costs. We have amalgamated all of our Level 1 and Level 2 provision to be more generalist courses focusing on core skills, including Maths and English and the basic principles of land-based topics, and which increases the size of cohort. This fits in with the College’s strategy of creating full Programmes of Study which lead towards completion of a full Level 3 specialist vocational qualification at the end of their time with us. Feedback from employers tells us that Level 3 is the “pool of talent” from which they wish to recruit. The new funding arrangements challenge us to create a curriculum that is effective and focused upon employment delivering high level technical educational skills, yet which is affordable. The focus is very much upon 16-18 year olds and Apprenticeships. We need to plan with the expectation that support for adult training will be removed. Part-time short courses and horticultural courses are looking very strong this year. We currently have 65 students studying RHS courses from Level 1 to Level 3, which reflects our position in the market place in comparison with our competitors. Our commercial and bespoke programme short course unit is thriving. We have now consolidated our independent assessment centre which has removed the variable quality of teaching and assessment and enables us to focus on a high quality product. Short course bookings are very much stronger, particularly in woodland management, chainsaw use and the use of pesticides. All these courses and qualifications have been identified as critical to employment. The College’s reputation for this work has been re-established as we have created new teams and devised new courses, and refurbished the Short Course Training Centre, which are proving to be attractive to employers and individuals. Recruitment on to the Foundation Degree in Animal Management has been fantastic again with 25 starts in Year 1, which is back in line with plans. I have been in discussions with the University of Bedfordshire to extend the offer to include a Foundation Degree in Agriculture with a top up to full BSc and also in Sport. This fits in with our strategic plan of offering local, high quality Higher Education to all of our areas of study. We have made further revisions to the top-up degree in line with feedback from our students and employers, and I am encouraged by their responses. We have been in discussions with the University of Hertfordshire and are in the process of identifying higher academic qualifications that would be appropriate for delivery at Shuttleworth. 14

Our employer responsive curriculum is becoming well established now and the quality marks in terms of timely completion and verifier feedback are really good. We currently have 46 students on programmes with the vast majority of the activity around amenity horticulture and agriculture. I am particularly encouraged by our growing relationship with Frosts Garden Centres and with Center Parcs. While these are in an early stage of discussion, we are planning on running a centre of activity at Woburn to meet local needs. We had a very successful programme for African farmers in partnership with the Marshal Papworth Trust, Farm Africa and Self Help Africa and have been invited to further develop the programme to meet with their objectives. Last year’s success data creates a number of challenges. Success rates in SSA3 (landbased subjects) continue to show improvement. The success rate was 89% which is excellent and an improvement of 2% on last year. We appear to have fixed the lack of consistency in the 19+ students and are pleased by the interventions that were put into place. However, I am particularly disappointed by our performance in Maths and English which pulls the success rate down to 76%. It is clear that we need to focus much more heavily on the basic skills to help young people progress. As part of our enhancement strategy we are piloting the new Technical Baccalaureate at Level 3 which incorporates advanced mathematics together with an Extended Project which will lead to a greater choice of university options. Schools student numbers are broadly the same as last year. Enrolments are across the range of our courses, particularly in Agriculture, Animal Care and Equine. However, students are coming from the larger and more successful schools and the smaller schools have withdrawn their provision. As school funding becomes tighter we must anticipate that this provision is at risk. The College is continuing to invest in the student experience and facilities at Shuttleworth with the provision of temporary office and classroom space at Kingshill, developing a new and improved restaurant facility and coffee bar and the provision of an upgraded e-learning drop-in facility which enhances students’ independent learning skills in preparation for progression to Higher Education (HE) and the creation of a discrete HE Centre. Plans are in place to erect a livestock building at Kingshill which is desperately needed to enable us to house cattle in the winter and to do elementary trial work on cattle growth rates. The College Farm has been an excellent resource for student learning. We have had a very good harvest this year and have already cultivated most of the winter land and have planted the winter crops. Of course, with farming, a good year generally means lower prices, and we will struggle to achieve our budget. We planted a successful spring crop on the land behind the reservoir and students will benefit by bringing this into the cropping area. Wheat yields have been very good at 12.4 tonnes per hectare. However, the spring crops have been less productive and particularly disappointing has been spring barley which we grew on the fields behind the reservoir which has yielded 3.5 tonnes per hectare. Oil seed rape has been a write-off as our plants were decimated by flea beetle. We have been granted a licence to use neo-nicotinoids which will control that pest.


The cattle are looking very well indeed. We have held at 25 mature Red Poll cows which are due to calve in the spring. There are real pressures this year because of the lack of winter accommodation and we are having to get rid of our bull as we are keen to enable students to have an experience of growing cattle. It is vital that we provide better accommodation to enable students to get a proper agricultural and educational experience. The lack of progress on the Sustainable Centre for Agriculture and the Environment based at Kingshill has been a frustration. LANDEX have identified the poor facilities at the College in their annual report and I am concerned that this will have a negative impact on our ability to claim the Specialist College status. However, we have made significant progress in securing the contractors and the buildings once the powerline modifications works are completed by UKPN. The student experience, the impact on the local farming community and the profile of the College will be hugely improved once the works are complete. We continue with our good relationship with CASE International Harvester as they have delivered in the region of 65 training places at Shuttleworth to combine harvester agents and operators in the last year. We continue to develop a good relationship with Stihl chainsaws and equipment which attracted a lot of interest for employers and agents and has brought in additional resources to our students. These links to commercial sponsors add to the students’ credibility with employers. We have been particularly pleased with the improved working relationships with the Visitor Attraction team and the College staff following the completion of the Swiss Garden project. I am delighted that the Trust has taken on two apprentices and has provided additional opportunities for horticultural students and our international relationships with a college in Norway where students have been enabled to benefit from a three-week work placement. Animal Management continues to be our highest performing area of activity and we are very keen to develop a facility to replace the inadequate animal barns. In terms of impact on students’ learning experience and the reputation of the College, this is a priority for further capital development. We believe this will enhance graduates’ employment opportunities and lead to a much improved student experience as well as assuring the high regard with which Shuttleworth College is perceived. As all colleges come under increased financial pressure, we are already experiencing intakes from further afield as our competitor colleges cease provision in niche areas. For example, we have picked up Level 3 Agriculture from Oaklands and Horticulture from Moulton. We are living in tough times and need to maintain our competitive edge. College Executive Director Michael Johnston


Harvest 1942 and more John Reader (64/66) sent this newspaper cutting to Dave Valentine (64/66) in December 2012.

The Daily Telegraph

of October 1942.

The Miracle of Britain’s Greatest Harvest The ordinary good British farmer has this season produced 40 bushels of wheat to the acre, many have produced over 50, and some of our champion farmers have reported yields of 80 or more bushels per acre. (Your Editor calculates: 1 bushel of wheat weighs 60lbs or 27kg so 50 bushels=1.35 tonnes and 80 bushels =2.16tonnes. 50 bushels per acre = 3.34 tonnes per hectare and 80 Bushels per acre = 5.34 tonnes per hectare) Giving these figures in the postscript to the news last night – Old Michaelmas night - the traditional end of harvest, Mr Hudson, Minister of Agriculture, compared them with Britain’s pre-war average of 33 bushels to the acre, and America’s average of less than 15 bushels. “But this I would say to you, in humility and seriousness. Much hard work and technical skill have played their part in these mighty yields, amongst the richest of all time. But I at any rate believe that we have a higher Power to thank as well, and from the depth of our hearts.” “Some Power has wrought a miracle in the English harvest fields this summer, for in this, our year of greatest need, the land has given us bread in greater abundance than we have ever known before. The prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread,” has in these times a very direct meaning for us all.”Mr. Hudson thanked the Dominions and the United States for sending us machinery, and paid tribute to the farmers and farm workers and their families. Potatoes and Beet Then he pointed to tasks ahead. Farmers in parts of the North and in Wales were still struggling to get in their corn. The weather had not everywhere been kind. We had still to lift the bulk of the potatoes and sugar beet, many millions of tons of each crop. “Nor was the end of our endeavour in sight. We might hope, but can’t reasonably expect, to see yields of this nature two years running.” Lord Woolton’s demands were insatiable. Preparations were therefore being made for still greater arable acreages next year. “I personally expect to see both next year, and again the year after that, appreciable increases in our total production,” the Minister asserted, “but it has not been and is not going to be easy.” Permanent Results He described agriculture as an industry where there was no absenteeism and where the output per man has steadily risen, and said that nearly all that had been accomplished could be of permanent lasting benefit. “We have the soil, the climate and the men needed to make British Agriculture not only an efficient industry, but an inspiration to the world, as indeed it was a century ago.” 17

John Reader (64/66) wrote these notes in December 2012 Some of those still farming from our era will remember Ken Russell selling barley at £18.50 per ton, and 2 ton per acre wheat at £20 per ton. Here in Devon rainfall so far is 40 inches (1,016 mm) everywhere is sodden wet. (December 2012) Apples were a complete write off this year. Possibly just as well, as getting them off the field would be pretty messy. Tim Bryce (65/67) adds to the story: Reading John’s newspaper cutting from 1942 has made me realise that it was almost exactly at that time that my interest in farming began. I was a small boy of five. At the outbreak of war my parents were living on the south coast in Dorset. My father quickly volunteered to “join up” in the army. He soon became concerned that he had left his family in a very vulnerable situation, near the coast where Hitler might launch an invasion. He was stationed at Shrivenham Barracks, later to become the Royal Military College of Science, with connections to Cranfield College. He found a little thatched cottage, in a village near Shrivenham and moved us all up there. It was a small country village with several farms and one big house for the lord of the manor – the butlers of parliamentary fame. My mother soon became friendly with the two children of the farmer from whom we rented the thatched cottage. They and my mother were all of a similar age, in their late twenties. I can distinctly remember going on walks round the village and farm, the Shorthorn cows coming in to be milked, and sweet smell of cow, hay, and the farmyard, and the strong smell of Hypochlorite used for sterilizing the buckets in the dairy. It was a big herd for the times, about 40 cows and they were milked by hand – no one did anything else at the time. There was quite a team of workers and I think the norm was about seven cows per milker. Other memories were the old cart horse, haymaking in summer and the Fordson Standard tractor which ran on TVO – a kind of paraffin – with a distinctive smell of its own. I loved the lanes, the mud and the unspoilt countryside, the animals, pigs, poultry and the blacksmith making and fitting horse shoes. Yes, I am afraid it has all changed and I know a lot of people would say for the better. During the past 70 odd years, not only did I see all those changes take place but I was part of the process. I spent the whole of my career directly or indirectly involved with the dairy industry. I was about when the first milking machines started to be used. The bucket plant used in the old cow sheds, then abreast parlours, tandem parlours, the herringbone, the rotary and now fully automated systems. Milk was transported in tinned steel churns which became dented, rusty and difficult to keep clean. They were followed by lighter and cleaner aluminium versions, which were still not ideal and did not ensure that the milk would not go sour in warm weather. In the 70’s bulk collection started. The modern refrigerated stainless steel vats improved the cleanliness and keeping qualities of the milk. It reduced the cost of collection and took a lot of the heavy work out of the job. However, the cost of the changeover was too much for the smaller producers and many went out of business. As the years went by those herds that remained increased in size – scale of enterprise. More sophisticated breeding programmes and the common use of artificial insemination, made 18

big changes to the genetic potential of most herds, increasing average milk yields from 2,700 litres per cow in 1940 to nearer 6,000 in 2010. The best producers managing as much as 10,000 litres per cow. I saw the introduction of the pickup baler. I saw the change from reliance on hay as the main forage feed in winter to silage, particularly encouraged by the War Ag after the war ended. Early clamps and towers were not very good but techniques were constantly being improved and good silage is now universal. Maize as a forage crop for silage was introduced in the 70’s. New varieties of ,aize were bred, which meant that they would grow and yield well in our relatively cold climate. For years silage was “self fed” but with the invention and introduction of feeder wagons farmers adopted more sophisticated systems of rationing dairy cows, making “complete diets”, combining the bulk elements and the concentrates into one feed. It was the advent of war that forced most of the changes on our industry. Tractors were introduced in the First World War to help supplement the manpower, which was taken away to fight on the battlefields of Europe, many of whom of course were killed and never returned to their jobs on the land. In the Second World War those supplies of food that we normally relied upon from abroad were being cut off by the Germans who were attacking and sinking our supply ships. The pressure was on and we had to use every ploy to increase home production. Every available piece of ground was put to use; parks and village greens as well as grassland were ploughed up for various crops. “Dig for Victory” was the slogan of the day. The results were very evident from the words used in John’s newspaper cutting. This need continued well after the war was over, so the government introduced subsidies to encourage further increases in production. Perhaps this continued for too long, but that is another story. Machines were replacing labour. We joined the Common Market; we became part of the Common Agricultural Policy; we produced milk lakes and grain mountains something had to be done. Milk quotas were introduced. The Milk Marketing Board went and milk price stability disappeared. Where does that leave us today? I had hoped to include an article by a present day Dairy Farmer and ex-student concerning the problems he faces, trying to make a living now, in 2015. Look out for this article in the next edition. Not only did changes take place in the dairy sector but arable farming was making huge strides. Plant breeding, better crop husbandry, bigger and better machinery as well as putting more land under the plough has increased output to an extent that is difficult to grasp. When I was at college in the mid 60’s, I seem to remember that we were told that this country only produced half its cereal needs. I have researched the statistics shown below which makes interesting reading:Today 75% of the UK is farmed, producing over 50% of the country’s food needs. Land use in hectares: Total Agricultural Land 18,250,000 Crops 4,610,000 Grassland 7,200,000 Rough Grazing 4,000,000 Rough Commons 1,200,000 Fallow 175,000 Others inc. Forage Maize etc. 1,000,000 19

Crop Areas and Yields for 2015 harvest: Crop Area Hectares Wheat 1,830,000 Barley 1,100,000 Oats 130,000 Oil Seed Rape 640,000 Potatoes 380,000 Sugar Beet 180,000

Production Tonnes Comparisons 16,170,000 Three times the production of 1940 7,280,000 About twice the production of 1940 780,000 A huge reduction in area grown since 1940 2,300,000 Not grown in 1940 6,100,000 approx.Similar yield from a greater area in 1940. 7,000,000 approx.More grown in 1940; we now use less sugar

2015 was a very wet year and harvesting root crops has been very difficult. Final figures could be lower than shown above. Interestingly enough, the consumer demand for potatoes is falling. None of this proves that the farmers of today are making good money. As I said, dairy farmers are struggling. Costs in all sectors of agriculture production are rising and prices don’t always follow. With world prices controlling the market, in some years certain crops will not show a profit. We have supermarkets only prepared to pay low prices, or alternatively buy in cheaply from abroad. The pressures on our industry continue and inevitably times will go on changing. I once said to a farmer who was going through a moment of despair, that he needed to look forward positively to a future doing things and growing crops that at that moment he had never heard of. I think that’s exciting and something to look forward to. The young students of today should have a rewarding if challenging career, working with new crops, new husbandry techniques, new machines, and computer controlled equipment rather than hard graft. The GFW (general farm worker) of my youth has gone. Recently I have read reports about various new crops; “Miscanthus” perhaps you have heard of this as Elephant Grass. It is a forage crop which thrives on poor to very poor soils. It is a very coarse grass like plant, with growth described as canes, it is a perennial, grown only from pieces of a rhizome. Once mature it grows to nine feet in height and will yield 10 to 20 tonnes per hectare. At the moment it is used as a biofuel being burnt, often with coal and other materials. We need any amount of green fuel – it is classed as carbon neutral. It makes good horse bedding and who knows what other uses might be found in the future. “Quinoa” said to be a new Super-Food. The plant comes from South America and is described as a green crop – cover crop. The seed can be used as a substitute for wheat flour and used in bread making. Careful plant breeding has eliminated the naturally occurring “soapy coating” found on the seed of the original variety. It has long been used by the native population of Peru and surrounding areas. It has risen in popularity in recent years as a valuable nutritional element in the diet of the more affluent, as well as in the USA. It grows in relatively cold climates but needs a good seed bed. It is a high priced product with a value several times higher than wheat. In the States the new varieties are harvested by conventional combine harvesters. Interesting. I saw a yield figure for the crop of 80,000 tonnes – that is not insignificant. 20

“Sweet Corn” Yes, I am sure you know it does grow in Southern Britain in the vegetable garden. However it needs a good season, a bit of shelter and a bit of luck. Now, following years of work by the plant breeders, we have at least one variety that grows successfully on a large and commercial scale. The plant still needs sun and is probably only at its best in parts of southern England. But watch this space; you never know what further breeding developments will pull out of the hat. “Apples” can now be picked by machine – clever new systems that don’t damage the crop. Could we not think of replacing all those lost apple orchards we were so quick to destroy only a few years ago. New varieties and our perfect climate should surely mean we could compete with all those foreign imports. Good luck! Why not have a go? “Green Beans” or Dwarf Beans, French Beans. Not strictly a new crop, but with specialist varieties and recently developed machinery they can now be farmed on a large scale and harvested by machine. Why can’t we produce at home all those tonnes of beans we import from Kenya? And I am sure there are many other potential new crops in the pipeline, still unknown to you and me at this moment in time. How exciting to see what appears next. Tim Bryce (65/67)


Richard Heath (67/69). Life since leaving Shuttleworth Home is near Devizes. We moved in 2011 from Corsham having landed there, school wise for youngest boy, following uprooting from Newton Abbot in 1997. HND Farm Mechanisation teaching at Lackham lasted ‘till the ‘glorious management’ decided that chasing money (sound familiar?) in the form of entry level and disadvantaged learner training rather than HND level was appropriate; killing off the HND Engineering and Farm Mechanisation. Ten years on the ‘rage’ is Foundation Degrees’. Progress? Sad situation as many HND learners had gone on to success at degree level study at Reading, Silsoe, Newcastle, etc. and also straight away to good employment. ND level teaching continued at a pace and ‘relevant’ paperwork increased exponentially and I left for retirement in 2008. It then only took me 38 years post ‘college’ to get into industry! I worked on stored crop design for a local company who had national interests. I helped design engineer a major store at Thurlow Estate Farms and other large central stores in Cambridge, Aberdeen, Hull, etc. as well as farm stores. All computer aided design facilitating manufacture in house and jig-sawing key bought-in machines together. After two and a half years I decided retirement was the thing! No back to Lackham who were short of staff, senior management having run with their annual round of redundancies and reorganisation and found they were short staffed! Some of this came from one year of double student numbers through a decision to abandon the ND mid-course sandwich year. Classic decision ref.! Then off I went again and landed a job CAD designing crop handling and storage facilities for cocoa, cassava, maize and sorghum. This workplace was rewarding in that design was extended to product development as well as dealing with the company system for export and installation overseas and at home. Design took on new meaning. It included an elevator pit in my first job. “They won’t dig ‘em and there are snakes! No mate!” Flat floor working only for Nigeria. As a major manufacturer of crop processing and driers it was interesting to see how the products were adaptable to wood chips, seaweed and other stored products. During my 27 years at Seale-Hayne I was able to go on ‘study tours’ with other agricultural engineers in the section. Travel included universities, farms and manufacturers in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Israel and Italy. At Lackham, a colleague and I regularly took mini-bus loads of Engineers and Mechanisation learners to farms, contractors and manufacturers in the Netherlands – with, purely for cultural purposes, some sightseeing thrown in. During my involvement with the Institute of Agricultural Engineers I was able to go on many site visits including getting on the Second Severn Crossing and crawl all over the pump-store power station at Dinorwig amongst other industrial sites latterly closed down or ‘sterilized’ by national preservation organisations. I was very lucky to get to mineral mines and processing plants in Cornwall before sterilisation through the ‘revolution’ in thinking about industrial archaeology presentation. My last agricultural engineering trip was with ALAM to northern Italy and was rewarding in that it was refreshing to see the levels of engineering and commitment. Fascinating to see gears being made for large British manufacturers amongst the usual trips to Ferrari and Ducati for those bored with the winery. In spare time I ring church bells. I was heavily involved in Devon and am currently treasurer of the local branch of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of ringers and have been certificated as a teacher of bell ringing to many learners, being a member of the Association of Ringing Teachers. I am captain of the village band of ringers and ring regularly in 22

Devizes and area. Some may recall me tolling the bell at Mrs. Shuttleworth’s funeral. Other spare time is taken with various construction tasks for various others and me. Generally any building or maintenance project I get stuck into – though some tasks such as central heating installation, etc. has been removed by the need to be ‘certificated’. I till a couple of allotment plots and get enjoyment from that though economically the local market would be a better option. Some ‘stand-by’ has taken place as I had hip re-surfacing in 2004 and a full replacement on t’other side in 2014 with a replacement of that in 2015 as the 2014 model broke up on me. It was strange to have feeling of hip crunching and ‘free-play’ movement with no pain. I was assured that breaking the ceramic hip was not my fault. Good job I studied materials science alongside systems failure courses as part of my OU degree in the ‘70s (for fun and enjoyment – but also useful for teaching materials and delivery style). If things don’t break we don’t know how to efficiently make them better for another occasion. [A Government ploy?] Currently I enjoy Future-Learn courses on the net. Brilliant materials on a host of subject matter some for enjoyment and some (further maths) to see if I can still crunch the numbers. In recent times (where have forty years gone?) I have had contact with Jim Smith (67/69) (Walsall); Dudley King (67/69) (West Harptree) and Mick Fenney (67/69) (Carmarthen). No contact with Henry nor Brian James (67/69) though I did see Steve English (67/69) on the ‘show circuit’. Some course members were at the recent re-union and that at ‘21 years on’ . Richard P Heath (67/69) (Writtle 69/70)

This picture is from Tim Bryce’s Summer Boat Trip 2015. The famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal. 1000 ft long and 130 feet above the river below. The tallest in the world, designed and constructed over 200 years ago.

Your Committee would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers A Very Happy Christmas and enjoyable New Year 23

QUIZ Paddy Godwin (77/80) has produced this special Agricultural Quiz for us all to enjoy while we sit round the open fire over the Christmas break. This quiz provides the first letters of common farming names, terms or phrases, with spaces following for each missing letter. E.g. D_ _ _ _ C_ _ would be Dairy Cow. Please send your answers to “” or by post to Paddy Godwin, Osier Cottage, Thorney, Langport, Somerset TA10 0DT by 29th January 2016. There is a £20 prize for the winner. In the event of more than one correct answer we will draw a name from a hat to find the winner. Answers in the next newsletter. Good Luck. 1) F_ _ _ _ _ _ W_ _ _ _ _ 2)

J_ _ _ D_ _ _ _


C_ _ _ _ _ A_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ P_ _ _ _ _


T_ _


W_ _ _ _ _ W_ _ _ _


H_ _ _ _ _ _ _ B_ _ _


G_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ O_ _ S_ _ _


S_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


C_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ R_ _ _ _


C_ _ _ _ _ C_ _ _ _


F_ _ _ T_ _ _ _ _ _ _


R_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ P_ _ _ _ _


G_ _ _ _ S_ _ _ _


Y_ _ _ _ _ R_ _ _


T_ _ _ __ S_ _ _ _ P_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _


S_ _ _ _ D_ _


R_ _ D_ _ _ _ _


S_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ C_ _ _ _ _ _


M_ _ _ _ _ _ P_ _ _ _ _ _


B_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ L_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 24

S.C.A Merchandise This Year’s Very Special Offer A superb print of this beautiful Water Colour of the College viewed from the Warren and painted to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Shuttleworth Unmounted: Size: 17" x 13". Cost: only £5.00 inc p&p

Polo Shirts.

This popular item features the Shuttleworth crest in Navy Blue. For £15.00 each inc p&p

Rugby Shirts In Navy Blue with a white collar and the crest. Just £25.00 each inc p&p.

Both items above in XX Large, X Large, Large and Medium sizes.

Lapel Badges still available at £2.00 each inc p&p All orders to :First Call — Sarah Perrett. 01458 251523 or email: or Margaret Curry at the College. 01767 626222 or email: All cheques payable to Shuttleworth College Association - with orders please. 25


S.C.A. OFFICERS & COMMITTEE 2015 - 16 Chairman.

Sarah Perrett

Vice Chairman Jonathan Mitchell Secretary

Charlotte Scott


Mike Williams

HND 77/80


HND 92/95




NDA 65/67

Database Manager Patrick Godwin HND 77/80



Committee. Sam Donald George Nell Nick Drury Eric Yates Tony Abbott Richard Infield Sally Cartwright Robert Kilbourn Claire Van Leersum Graeme Brown College Contact

HNDBF 93/95 NDA 69/71 HND 81/84 Retired Staff NDA 65/67 ND 90/93 HND 86/89 HND 81/84 HND 81/84 OND 77/80

Margaret Curry

Student Representative on College staff President. Vice Presidents.

Denbighshire Oxon Cambs Norfolk Hants Beds Beds Cambs Cambs Beds 01767 626222 Jo Norman

Charlotte Friefrau John Von Twickle. J.E. Scott, S.C. Whitbread, Bill Bedser, Eric Yates and Professor Mike Alder.

Secretary. Charlotte Scott, Unwin Cottage, 5 Pear Tree piece, Old Warden, Biggleswade, SG18 9FD. Tel: 01767 626311 Mobile: 07717862747 Newsletter Coordinator Tim Bryce 37 People’s Place, Warwick Road, Banbury, Oxfordshire. OX16 0FJ Tel: 01295 271366 Mobile: 07734455472 (In the event of an email address failing to respond please contact another committee member and request your message be forwarded to your intended recipient.) (The editor is looking for material for the next newsletter as soon as this one goes to press, so please don’t delay, get writing, look for stories and send them to him as soon as possible) New Officers and Committee will be elected at the 2016 AGM But even after that date please use the addresses above. Website:


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