LISTENERS of the BBC Radio Cumbria Helen Millican Show have been given an historical wander down memory lane with the “Cumbria Young Farmers Clubs (YFC) Through the Decades” currently featuring fortnightly

The first programme featured young farmer experiences from the 1930, 40s, and 50s and first to share her memories was Olive Clark, OBE, DL, JP, FRAgs, who spoke eloquently about not only her own personal experiences of being a young farmer in the 1930s but also gave a fascinating insight into the social history of the time.

Olive started her interview by stating that “time brings changes for us all” and this had been accurate in her own life within young farmers.

Olive joined young farmers in 1938 against a background of high unemployment where for those working on the land there was little mechanisation, just a relentless round of monotonous hard graft and precious little financial return.

Growing up in the agricultural depression between the wars, in an age of oil lamps and early nights the coming of young farmers and the opportunities that it offered radically changed lives.

With the coming of World War II, farming became a protected industry with “Dig for Victory” heralding a new era for agriculture.

Feeding the country was a matter of national importance and the new land army provided much needed support for farmers.

During the war, young farmer activities continued and Olive remembers travelling to dances on her bicycle with the light on the front of her bike covered with a piece of paper with a slit in it to comply with blackout regulations.

Olive brought her interview to a close by confirming what many of those listening would attest to and that is that young farmers also provides a wonderful marriage bureau for the young of the county.

Olive met her late husband at a dance at Preston Patrick Memorial Hall at a young farmers’ dance which in turn led to her taking on the role of Treasurer at the Hall on a temporary basis for the next 50 years!

Next under the spotlight was Robin Gate who talked about his time as a young farmer in the 1940s. Robin grew up on a farm in the west of the county and remembered the hardship of those days working with horses and clearing out middens by hand.

Robin’s first club was at Whitehaven Grammar School where activities such as guest speakers and farm visits to learn stockjudging took place.

From there Robin went onto join Egremont and then Lamplugh YFC in 1947. His first rally was in 1950, a great day out where trophies were won and there was a dance to follow at Skelton Memorial Hall with an admission of two shillings and six pence!

Throughout his time in young farmers, Robin enjoyed a whole host of events and activities and in particular the drama which helped to build his confidence.

Attending the NFYFC AGM in London at the Westminster Hall with a dance at the Hammersmith Palais was another highlight. Robin was also very proud to be asked to be the Northern District of Cumbria YFC’s President, a role he relished and enabled him to visit all the clubs of the northern district.

After a lifetime in young farmers, Robin is known throughout the county and is very pleased that his three daughters and grand children also followed in his foot steps and joined young farmers.