Lanark and District Young Farmers celebrate 75 years

Many happy returns...the 50th anniversary celebrations back in 1993. Now, club members are preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary.
Many happy returns...the 50th anniversary celebrations back in 1993. Now, club members are preparing to celebrate the 75th anniversary.

It is 75 years since Lanark and District Young Farmers’ Club was first founded ... and times have certainly changed.

Established as a social network and means of providing training, these particular functions remain.

A look back in time...the club's annual dinner dance, this one being held in 1984, was always a big draw.

A look back in time...the club's annual dinner dance, this one being held in 1984, was always a big draw.

But the young farmers’ organisation has grown to offer much more besides.

And the club and its members will celebrate its long and proud history with a series of events both this year and next.

Jane Muirhead, a former club secretary, is among several former members who have been drafted on to the 75th anniversary committee.

She said: “Comprising a number of members from across the years, the committee has been tasked with organising a few events to encourage old and new members to come together in celebration.

Concert laughs...for this happy bunch at Lanark and District Young Farmers' Club's annual concert in 1968.

Concert laughs...for this happy bunch at Lanark and District Young Farmers' Club's annual concert in 1968.

“We are starting with a 75th celebration barn dance on Saturday, August 18, at Netherton Farm, Hyndford Bridge, at 7.30pm.

“This is intended to raise funds to assist with the other events scheduled to be held over the next 12 months.”

Lanark and District Young Farmers’ Club was formed in 1943.

The first members were initially enrolled at a stockjudging competition at Harelaw Farm, Lanark.

A committee was then formed later that year to organise meetings and events and the club has never looked back since.

Jane said: “Over the years the club has evolved to accommodate lifestyle changes, striving to keep up with modern technology and providing an educational and social network.

“The club provides a base for many different types of competitions and activities for members.

“Over the years these have included poultry trussing, butter making, ploughing and turnip singling.

“Nowadays, there is a greater focus on speechmaking, sports competitions, crafts, baking and stockjudging.

“In the early years one of the main purposes of the club was to provide a social network, as those who lived and worked in the country were often very isolated.

“Dances were a major attraction and the club held a Grand Dance in Lanark Memorial Hall each year.

“Tickets were sold not only to those wishing to participate but also to spectators who paid to watch from the balcony!”

Thanks to advances in technology – the advent of the internet and social media – farmers are no longer as isolated as they once were.

However, social events continue to be a mainstay of the club. Indeed, a huge number of events is staged throughout the year.

And each and every one of those many events is organised by members themselves, some of whom are as young as 14.

Jane explained: “A trademark of young farmers’ clubs across the world is that they are all run by their members.

“That’s quite a remarkable feat when you consider that all are under the age of 30, with some as young as 14.

“The level of responsibility and experience gained through young farmers’ clubs is second to none and provides all members with very transferable life skills.”

The Lanark club has enjoyed many successes over the years; it is now in the middle of a very busy summer sports season.

Jane said: “Members are currently enjoying netball, football, volleyball, hockey, clay pigeon shooting and go-karting competitions.

“And the car treasure hunt is being held on August 12, leaving Kirkfieldbank Hall between 6pm and 7pm.”

However, with around 40 members, it is hoped even more local young farmers will now join the group.

Jane added: “It would be fantastic to get some new blood into the club, with fresh ideas. They’d receive a very warm welcome.”

Potential new members should contact Kirsty Baird on 07983 132946 for further information or can find out more about the group on its popular Facebook page.

Meanwhile, members are hoping for a good turn out at the barn dance on August 18.

And planning is also under way for the club’s 75th anniversary dinner dance at Cartland Bridge Hotel on Saturday, December 8.

The 75th celebrations will culminate next year with an anniversary concert from November 21 to 23. For more details, contact Fiona Bailie on 07767 060403.

Jane added: “The club has had many successes over the years, creating long-lasting friendships, providing members with opportunities to learn new skills and to travel worldwide as part of an international exchange network.

“Members, both past and present, are looking forward to the anniversary year and very many more years to come.”