With it being Breast Cancer Awareness month and World Mental Health day on 10th October I thought I would share with you all my youngest son’s speach he made twelve months ago at the Cornwall YFC Speech Day where he represented Helston & St Keverne YFC Junior Section (16 and Under)
I have always been involved in our family farm located on the Lizard peninsular between the parishes of St Keverne and St Martin.
I am the 4th generation to work the land which my great grandfather purchased in 1953. Back then Paps ran a mixed farm. Work was done with a heavy horse, named Victor, and a David Brown Cropmaster.
Much has changed since the 50’s. In 1994 Dad came home and took on the running of the farm. Over the last 20 years a great deal of modernisation has taken place. We have changed from Holsteins to Jersey cows and direct supply to Roddas Creamery. We recently extended our parlour to a 12:24. (Having 24 cows in the parlour at once, milking 12 at a time)
These changes enabled both my brothers to start apprenticeships on the farm meaning they can work alongside Dad learning the daily running and help progress the farm.
We have had great success showing – winning breed champion in a class of top Jersey animals. With things going so well, we work as a happy family farm with a great future ahead,
Or So we thought!
In late 2012 everything for us. Unfortunately, mum was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.
For some this devasting news would break them, but mum being mum she just got on with it. Giving up working away from the farm and working at home as much as she could. For my older brothers and I life would never be quite the same and we grew-up very quickly.
That winter, we would help with yard work before and after school and looking after mum the days she had her chemo, despite all that was happening, Mum and Dad always ensured we had ‘down time’. Looking back I now realise the value of it and where it has got me now, I was selected to join Cornwall Development squad for U12’s in Badminton. All 3 of us played rugby for Helston and have all represented Cornwall RFU.
I am pleased to say the chemo has worked and mum has been given the all clear.
Seven years on I look back with great pride at how we kept as a family and kept the farm running.
Just as we were getting it altogether Dad was injured by the last Holstein on the farm which resulted in 10 days in hospital – we’ve told him he isn’t allowed that long a holiday again! But as brothers we pulled together and ran the farm – we were 15, 13 and 11 years old at the time.
We learnt a lot from it and each other!
In 2017 we were shutdown with bovine TB – we had been clear for over 20 years. Shockingly we lost one third of our herd including most of our successful show team of heifers.
Being under movement restrictions has led to many consequences:
I was unable to come home to work as there wasn’t enough money and work to warrant another employee, mum has gone back to work off farm, my eldest brother is now a contract tractor driver.
We all want to work at home as a family unit but that just isn’t possible due to bTB!
In these dark times we have been thankful to our long association with Cornwall TFV spanning back to the late 80’s when Mum and Dad joined and now as I start my journey with Helston & St Keverne YFC, following in their footsteps I look forward to meeting like minded people.
I have talked about some heart breaking subjects today, for instance bovine TB has taken approximately thirty three thousand cattle since January 2008 across the UK
Some Farmers can’t handle the stress of going through loosing their cows and sometimes do things you do not want to imagine so please remember our cause #MyMindMatters #NFYFC
It’s good to talk – I did!