East Anglia Club report 2010

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By Tom Hume BVetMed M.R.C.V.S

Discussions at our Club meetings have mainly revolved around how the changes at council level would affect our club and our breed.

As a club we are quite clear that we want the British Simmental Society to lead in two ways. 1) Improving the health and productivity of the cattle 2) Improving the marketing of the breed to consumers, abattoirs and those buying terminal sires.

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On a recent holiday to the south of France, I was reminded once again what a good job the Angus society have done. Reading a menu in a restaurant proclaiming “Angus steak”!

We are fortunate in our region that one of our members, Andrew Clarke, is the managing director of the largest mixed species abattoir in the country. With his encouragement, many of the local farmers are moving away from other Breeds in favour of Simmentals and this increases the demand for our members’ bulls.

The other important area is the health and productivity of the cattle. I think the various cattle health accreditation schemes are a good starting point and the society’s move to promote these is encouraging. I think further guidance for members on what is required and what is achievable would be useful. Accredited shows and sales will be necessary if we are to take positive steps to tackle diseases such as BVD and IBR. I would also like to see pre-purchase fertility testing of bulls become a routine procedure, with tough thresholds to ensure only the most fertile bulls are presented for sale and allowed to act as ambassadors of our breed in commercial herds.

I was delighted to read the letter from Neil Shand and felt it promised more focus and purpose from the society in the future.

Anyway, on to club matters; some members had great success at the shows this summer for which we congratulate them.

The Royal Norfolk Show was a highlight for us. The show put on a delicious Exhibitors meal on the Wednesday night, which was very well supported. We were pleased it attracted many Simmental Breeders from as far afield as Kent, Sussex; Hertfordshire and further! There was a very impressive display with all classes hotly contested. Congratulations to everyone! Thanks must go to all members who helped with the food and hospitality.

After several years of trying we finally managed to organise an overseas trip. Thanks to Phillida Hurn, 16 members and friends flew to Dublin and had a most enjoyable weekend visiting farms in Kilkenny, attending the Irish Beef Expo 2010, sampling the Guinness and learning how to line dance!

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The thing that impressed all of us was the quality of the cattle, and the passion of the Irish breeders. They were patriotic and determined to improve Irish cattle. They are succeeding.

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Our little group had much to think about as we made our way home. Four members had even more to think about as they waited in anticipation to see how their new acquisitions adapted to life on English soil!

As our autumn meetings begin again we look forward to the Thursford Christmas concert and a farm walk around Denis Mitchell’s farm. Congratulations to all our members who have done extremely well in the show ring, and especially Denis for his success at Stirling Bull Sales this autumn, where he won the Supreme Female Champion with a young heifer and sold very well for 5200gns and Simon Key for winning the EBLEX Prize for the most improved Simmental herd.

East Anglia Club report 2009

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by Phillida Hurn

Following my involvement with World Congress last year, I had expected a slightly quieter, less demanding year ahead, only to find at meetings and at shows I was encouraged and supported to take up the role of being a Council member! Well here I am now, as I write this report, a Council Member for the next three years!!

At this point I would like to say I will do my very best for the Society members and the Simmental Breed. I will always be here for any members who have queries or points of view to take to Council meetings.

Well now on to our Club members and activities of this year, we have had great highs and lows. Alan Abram had a very nasty accident with a Simmental cow in May and unfortunately broke his back; the good news is that as I write this he has been home for four weeks. Then four days before the Norfolk Show, Paul Gunther phones me and say he is unable to do the food for the exhibitors, Oh dear!! Well in the next breath he tells me he is in hospital and not allowed home until he has had an operation on his heart at Papworth on Monday of the show week!! Thankfully all is well and Paul and Alan are coming to the Club Meeting and Dinner in November!!

Thanks to Hayley and Andrew Clarke we did have a very good BBQ in the evening of the first day of the Norfolk Show, it was a great success with about 30-40 exhibitors attending, thanks goes to all involved!

Some members managed to have a meal in Wroxham and then on to the Boat Trip on the broads again in July! We had a lovely evening dancing on deck to the music and drinking cool beer, as we sailed onto the broads.

I would like to mention what an asset Tom Hume; as a member, has been to our Club for the last two years, giving us all very useful advice on many veterinary topics, and on the importance or calving and conditions of animals, also over the advice on Blue tongue vac. etc. I would like to welcome him as a new Simmental member and Breeder, as he now owns his first Simmental Cow and Heifer Calf!

Well I think the cattle should be mentioned! Our members have some great Simmentals; we have three Kilbride Farm young bulls travelled to Norfolk farms from Northern Ireland this year! And I believe some very good Hockenhull cattle came home too from the dispersal sale in October! So watch out next year in the show ring!!

William Abram with his heifer Wagtail winning at the Aylsham Show

I would like to congratulate our Club members for their tremendous success at the shows this year, especially at the Royal Norfolk Show, where there were some of the best cattle in the country, and we gave them a run for their money!! Also to congratulate William Abram (age12) for all his success with his heifer at the local shows this summer and my Granddaughter Camilla Morgan- Evans (age 7) for entering her first ever young handlers’ class and winning! I have to say it was such a relief not to have restriction for blue tongue or foot and mouth or such like!!

Some of our members are off again to the Christmas Concert at Thursford in December, which I am sure they will all enjoy.

Tony and I have just come back from a lovely holiday New Zealand, Having visited their Simmental President Helen and John Ellis’s herd of Simmentals, I can recommend anyone thinking of going to the World Congress in Australia, to go onto the post tour in New Zealand, it is the most beautiful country, well worth at visit, but please take lots of warm and waterproof clothes!!

Thanks again to our Chairman Ian and the Club members for their support this year and to my long suffering husband Tony!

East Anglia Club report 2008

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by Phillida Hurn

What a year!! I am not sure where to start, I think the best and most important thing is to thank all our Club members and the sponsors for their fantastic support over the Simmental World Congress visit to East Anglia.

The Royal Norfolk Show I believe, gave the delegates of the Simmental World Congress tour the most fantastic and possibly the best day of their trip! They watched good Simmental cattle being judged, including many other breeds and The Colman Mustard Cup interbreed teams of four, which includes a commercial animal sired by the pedigree bull, one pedigree Bull and two pedigree females, this is a very well supported class by all breeds and very generously sponsored by Colman’s of Norwich/Unilever.

We had the honour of Prince Harry in the Simmental cattle ring, which was a great opportunity for the judges, stewards and cattle handlers to meet the Prince.

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Peter Rout from the Royal Norfolk Showground escorting Prince Harry in the Simmental judging ring.

If you were hungry there were lots of food and drinks to be bought around the show ground, but I think the best tent was the Simmental hospitality tent next to the cattle judging rings, with our hard working smiling members of the East Anglian Club, providing free teas and coffees all day, also beautiful homemade cakes and biscuits! The Chairman did a wonderful job washing up!! Many thanks to them all!

There were so many other attractions at the show, including horses, pigs, sheep, goats, chickens, and a dog show and lots of shops, as for the main ring well show jumping, Freefall parachuting by the RAF Falcons, The Bolddog Lings Freestyle Motocross team and best of all The Kings Troop Royal Horse Artillery, I feel sure there was something for everyone!

Then when that was all over we all joined up in the Vice–President’s marquee for a delicious dinner of roast beef and while we ate the summer pudding and cream we were entertained by local farmer, Winston Harold with his Norfolk Comedy Cabaret.

Then moving on to the next day when a number of the World Congress delegates came to visit some of our Club member’s cattle on heir farms. Firstly though it was off to The National Stud at Newmarket, to see some of the finest thoroughbred race horses in the world, then on to Gunthorpe Park to see Denis Mitchell’s pedigree Simmentals, I do believe the delegates enjoyed the Pimms and cakes in the hall’s beautiful garden, as much as the cattle!!

Then on only a short journey to Wolterton Hall to visit Brian Filby’s some 400 head of Simmental cattle, there were two herds some x – bred and black Simmentals, which were greatly admired by the Canadians and Americans.

We then went half a mile to our Farm at Hall Farm, Wickmere, to see slightly fewer Simmentals!! Followed by lots more Pimms! With local fish and chips, then strawberries and cream! All kindly sponsored by Club members and local Sponsors.

By now we were all well fed and watered, so on to the coaches for a short drive to Wroxham Broads for a evening sailing, we were met there by the rest of the delegates, (who had been at meetings all day), they had all found fish and chips on the river bank!

So now on board off we sailed along the river Bure to Horning, watching all the beautiful thatched holiday houses, and boats and wild life as we went! Listening and dancing to the music and drinking nice cool beer!

Before I finish, I would like to congratulate all our members who have done extremely well at the shows this summer under very difficult restrictions due to the Blue Tongue, and having lost our local Aylsham Show last year, the Simmentals came back in force this year dominating the other breeds!

We also managed a visit this September, (which we should have had last year, but cancelled due to Foot and Mouth and Blue Tongue,) to the local Abattoir, Blakes of Costessey, Andrew and Haley Clarke gave us a very welcoming tour of the plant, explaining all about the running, cutting and grading etc of the slaughter business, we had 16 members attend and then we were all treated by Andrew and Haley at our usual meeting place The Marsham Arms for a delicious meal.

Some of our members are off to the Christmas Concert at Thursford in December, which I am sure they will all enjoy. Just another thankyou to all the Club members who gave me so much support this year, long may it last!!!!

East Anglia Club report 2007

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by Ian Turvey

I was elected chairman at our AGM this year after serving as Vice - Chairman for the past two years, I have worked with Simmentals since their introduction into this country, so hope I can give a valuable input to our Club.

Our meetings are held at the Marsham Arms, which we all find a great success having a meal together before the meeting, with half still on their large sweet course (mainly the ladies) when I start the meeting!

Well done to Margaret and Norman Smith who have attended all our meetings even though they have to travel a long way. Also thanks to Brian Filby our Council member for all his hard work at Council meetings.

Well what a year: Firstly I must congratulate all our members on a very successful showing season this year; you have all done exceptionally well. Our members travel a great distance to support other area club’s local shows and we would love to welcome them all to our shows sometime!!

We had a wedding in our club this year, well done Tim and Sharon.

Here in the East, hay cutting was put back much later as it never stopped raining, silage went ahead late and was completed after several attempts at pulling big balers out of boggy holes! Hay followed with plenty of bulk and little else. It was a struggle to get it in dry, but as usual the time came. Then harvest, with the combines also digging their own holes with the straw being baled before leaving the combine nearly, to try and get it in reasonably dry. Straw will be hard to come by this year.

We were very pleased to welcome Fiona at the Royal Norfolk this year, and also Roger Birch as our Judge. The weather smiled on them both and I know they enjoyed their visit. What about the Royal…...say no more. Next came foot and mouth and Purbright or was it Purbright and foot and mouth. Not yet under control as I write this report but being contained. Now the Royal Show changed their dates and left the World Congress in confusion.

The club had a meeting to discuss the Royal Norfolk Show hosting the World Congress. This was yet again a lively well-attended meeting. Both Phillida and myself had been to the Royal Norfolk Showground to discuss the venue and were subsequently able to answer all the questions about holding the World Congress there. We at the East Anglian Simmental Club felt the best of all options was the Royal Norfolk Show as a venue for this event and with tireless efforts by our Club Secretary Phillida, who worked hard on our behalf, our case was accepted by the Congress Committee Members, so we hope to have a good Royal Norfolk next year. We will all work hard here in East Anglia to make sure this event is a success.

Now Bluetongue...lets hope that the winter comes hard and fast to take control of it....We love our part of this world, even if our Lord has sent this all to try us. Aylsham Show unfortunately didn’t happen for the cattle entries, on the August Bank Holiday Monday, due to the foot and mouth outbreak, such a shame as it has always been a very successful local show.

We are a strongly supported club and have very lively meetings, I can tell you with several opinions on several subjects.....needs a diplomatic Chairman and a very patient Secretary.

In March we had a very interesting talk given by one of our local vets, Chris Tomlinson on problems that occur in young calves, which again was a well-attended meeting, turning into a very good discussion. We had trips arranged this year, all cancelled due to the foot and mouth and Bluetongue control, but hope next year we can go ahead with them.

Our Christmas Dinner this year is at the Marsham Arms where we will be expecting a full house and plenty of Boootiful Turkey!!!

East Anglia Club report 2006

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by Phillida Hurn

This year our Club started with a very good meal at our local pub The Marsham Arms, followed by our AGM. Our Chairman Paul Clements offered to stand as our Chairman for one more year, with Ian Turvey as Vice-Chairman, it seems that nobody wanted to take on my job of Secretary or Treasurer so I remained in office!! We are a very small Club of only 15 members! But everyone is keen to keep it going.

The next big occasion was to be Paul Clements sale of his Pedigree Simmentals in March. We had two more Dinners at the pub in March and May with a small meeting afterwards to discuss what would happen at the shows, food, etc. Also to discuss trips!

Well we had two! They were a Boogie night on the Norfolk Broads and a trip to see Penny Lally in Cornwall! I am about to tell you what a great time was had by all!!

Firstly, I would like to congratulate some of our members; being John Carter, Paul Gunther, John Key, and Eddie Morgan-Evans for winning Supreme Championships at County and local Shows this year. Another thank-you to Paul Clements and his family for all the help in providing the delicious food at the Suffolk Show, also to Hilly Morgan-Evans for providing equally good food at the Norfolk Show.

We had 27 members and their friends join us on the Boat trip in July, what a night to remember! We all met for a meal in The Country Carvery on the riverside in Wroxham, across from where we boarded the large double decker passenger boat. We climbed on board at 7.45pm to set sail down the river onto the Broads. The evening was warm and sunny, so with a drink in their hands everyone was either singing or dancing to the sixties & seventies music with holidaymakers joining in on the banks of the river!

Then come the middle of October after most of the harvest is done, 9 of the members set off to see how the other half live (as Penny Lally quoted!) in Cornwall!! So different coming from East Anglia where it is common to find fields of 90 acres plus! Their 90 acres would be about 10 – 15 fields surrounded by stonewall banks!! Probably belonging to two or three farmers!

Well we flew down from Stansted airport to Newquay. We all shared transport to save leaving too many cars in the car park, having a group booking we all met up at the check in, in good time, things were going very well, we all had the correct weight for the bags, etc., until Norman and Margaret Smith checked in! No passports!! (“Didn’t think we needed them as not leaving the UK” says Margaret!) Needed for identification!! So they wouldn’t let them fly! Poor Margaret and Norman had no option but to get on an overnight bus to Newquay! Arriving at 7am Newquay, but where? Airport, no bus station! Penny went to the airport! Lots of delay and phone calls and Penny eventually found them, to bring them to Penny’s B&B for a warm well needed breakfast!

Well we were all together again! Janet and Brian Filby and Tony and myself with the Smiths were staying at Penny’s B&B, Denis Mitchell and Valerie and Paul Clements were staying at Viv Halls B&B, we were all very comfortable and well looked after! Very much recommended!

Our first morning we visited Viv and Geoff Halls pedigree and x-bred cattle, having met up with the Clements’ and Denis over a nice cup of coffee and very good cakes! Not much room to eat them after such a good breakfast!! Then we set off to “The Theatre under the Stars” at Minack, and visited the Visitor centre to hear the remarkable story of a wonderful Lady, Rowena Cade who built it, we all enjoyed the beautiful views and weather over Porthcurno Bay to the Logan Rock, also had a very tasty snack in the restaurant.

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Over the weekend we met up with many of the Cornish group in the evenings for a meal, it was great fun they had many a tale to tell! They do have a lot of cattle in Cornwall, we saw as we were travelling round there are still many dairy herds, a lot were Jersey and Guernsey, I think they must have survived so well in this present dairy farming decline, due to the high demand for “cream teas” Oh boy! We had so many jam scones with huge amounts of thick cream!!

We visited Barry Wynter and his Uncle Edward White’s herd of very good Simmental cattle, plus nearly a herd of cats!! One in particular spent most of the time in Barry’s arms!!

We also visited two different breeds one of Geoff and Pat Thomas’s great herd of Red Devon’s and Irwin and Dilys Rowe’s large herd of good big Angus, they all looked after us very well with beautiful cream scones and Cornish pasties.

We were meant to have visited the Tin Mine at Geevor on the Saturday, but it was closed! So Penny changed things round and we managed to go on Sunday, which was very interesting, the underground tour was very claustrophobic!

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Two more very important farms we visited, with great big fleshy Simmentals was our host Penny Lally and also Jim Buckland, who I believe helps Penny with her cattle and will stand in when she is away on Council duties!! It was very interesting looking round Penny’s Pet Crematorium, some members found it a little upsetting to see the pets waiting to go into the burners! There is a human burial ground too, what a beautiful place to lay in peace.

On the Monday off North to the Eden Project with Viv Hall and Jim Buckland as our escorts! We all found this to be fascinating; as we entered the tropical dome we had the only rain of the weekend, and what a storm, thunder and lightning just like the tropics, it was almost as if it had been ordered!

Then as our flight wasn’t until the evening, Steve and Gill Gummow showed us round their Simmental herd. We were then asked to make ourselves at home, and were given the loveliest Cornish pasties and more jam scones and cream!!

We had a good flight home with the Smiths this time! As their passports had arrived by special delivery on Saturday!! I believe we all had a good journey home, although it was 2am when Tony and I climbed into bed!

We had one more very good Dinner plus a meeting at The Marsham Arms on the 8th November which was attended by 11 members, such a good evening was had, we closed the meeting at 11.15pm!!

I would like to thank all the members for their support this year, also the members backing me for the position of Vice-Chairman of the 2008 World Congress committee! I will do my best!

East Anglia Club report 2005

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by Phillida Hurn

Our Club year started at the AGM in a classroom at Easton College on January 26th, where we have had our club meetings for several years, this however has become rather expensive to hire, so now we have our meeting at different venues.

We had quite a change round at the AGM as Carolyn Gay our Chairman and Denis Mitchell our Secretary both stood down, so Paul Clements as Vice Chairman was voted in as Chairman, and for some unknown reason they appointed myself as Secretary + Treasurer!!

We all thanked Carolyn and Denis for all their hard work over the years.

Our second club meeting in March was held at Easton College, as we had Mr Andrew Charlton from the College giving us a very interesting talk on Beef Bench Marking and his computer program.

Our club members have been very successful at shows all over the country, so much so I would be writing forever to mention them all, but well done!  The outstanding one must be our Chairman, Paul Clements, and his success with his great cow Darsham Kit Kat at all the County shows, also winning all three Royals’, doing so much to promote the Simmental breed.

Another thank you to Paul Clements and his family for all the help in providing the delicious food at the Suffolk Show, also to Hilly Morgan-Evans for providing equally good food at the Norfolk Show.

We then went on to have our summer meeting on the 22nd July here at Beck Farm looking at the Twyford Simmental herd, and then on to Hall Farm (home of my son Eddie and daughter-in-law Hilly Morgan-Evans) for a BBQ, this was well attended by all, with the feeling that everyone enjoyed themselves, thanks for coming!

Then on the 11th August a small group left for a weekend in Southern Ireland and what a great success it was!! We did have 12 booked but unfortunately we had 4 drop out for medical reasons, which was very sad.

In the group were Paul and Valerie Clements, Tom and Diane Randall, Steve and Lorrayne Blomfield (from the South East Club) and Tony and myself. We had a good flight over to Ireland from Stansted, arriving in time to visit the Bull Performance Test Station, plus the Irish Race Horse National Stud, which was next door.

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We then went on to stay at the Ormond Hotel in Kilkenny, which was extremely comfortable with very good food. The next day we had a walk round Kilkenny and did a bit of shopping. Then our very nice bus driver Paul, who looked after us all extremely well, drove us to Waterford where we visited the famous glass factory. Next on to see John and Theresa Murphy’s very good pedigree and commercial cattle perched on the cliff tops and what a lovely view!   Theresa very kindly fed us, so we were all ready for the evening Racing Festival at Tramore.  It was a lovely evening’s racing! Some of us won money and some lost!

As we had done quite a lot of travelling, we decided our herd visit programmed for Cork was rather a long way, so we missed that and visited a stable yard instead, where Paul Clements owned a lovely show jumping horse, who we saw loose jumped in the school. We also looked round some of the other twenty odd horses.

Then on to the Brinkley family, Gerard and David showed us their very good herds of Simmental and Charolais cattle, plus a few mares and foals etc., but best of all was the beautiful home made bread and smoked salmon!! Provided by the family.

Next on to Garrett Behan to see his good cattle, we were running a bit late by now, but he was pleased because he had been washing about ten animals for the next day’s show, again his mother had very kindly laid on delicious sandwiches and the best ever apple pie, but I think we were all wondering how we were going to eat supper!!! This was not a problem as we arrived at our new hotel in Tullamore, too late for a meal, they had finished cooking!

Then Sunday was the great Tullamore Show, this is the largest one day show in Europe, we all walked the two to three miles from our hotel to the show and back, but it was well worth the walk it was fantastic! So many very good cattle of all breeds, horses, and many more.

Then Monday homeward bound, but on the way to the Airport, we visited the National Beef Bull Stud at Enfield, this was very interesting.  We saw very good Simmental bulls, one very nice one called Naughty. We also visited John Connaughton’s large Simmental herd and saw lots of young bulls plus a donkey and some lovely flat racing brood mares and foals. We all had a VERY nice time!

Our thoughts are with the Clements family with the sad loss of Paul’s father Albert Clements in October.

We have had just one meeting since our Irish trip, this was held at the Marsham Arms, on 19th October, which included a very nice meal.  We had a good turn out and lots of discussion about the way forward with the Simmental breed in our area. It was also decided to have a Christmas party for club members in The Clifftonville Hotel at one of their Dinner Dances in December.

I would like to thank all our members for their support, and hope we have an even more enjoyable and successful year in 2006.