“I’ve always wanted to come but farming doesn’t let you do things like this too often. Coming to watch a Somerset cricket match has been on my bucket list for 60 years.”
Rosemary, Somerset dairy farmer
That’s the reaction of one Somerset farmer who went to the free Farmers’ Day at Somerset County Cricket Club organised by Bath and Wells Rural Life Advisor, Rob Walrond.
More than 500 farmers and their families came along to enjoy a relaxing day away from the farm. Rob who is also chaplain to Somerset CCC teamed up with the club to give farmers the opportunity to take a break.
“I wanted to created an opportunity for them to get together with friends and family, to have a catch up and switch off from the pressures of their working lives for a bit.”
Alongside the cricket representatives from The Farming Community Network and The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) were on hand to offer support and advice for any financial and emotional worries farmers may have had.
“Farming is a unique way of life because so often everything is tied up in the farm. It is your livelihood and business, your daily work routine, your identity, your lifestyle and very often your social circle. But it can also be very lonely and isolating as you spend hours working on your own. There is an inability to switch off because you can never get away.” Suzie Wilkinson is the Coordinator of the Farming Community Network in Somerset.
It’s this that was the driving forces behind Rob’s determination to host the farming day.
“Farming has got one of the highest suicide rates. Farmers in Somerset and the South West are livestock farmers, where Brexit is concerned these areas of farming are quite precarious at the moment. So if we can give them a bit of a recharge it’ll be a big help to them.”
Judging by the reaction of some of those who wemt along, the day achieved just what it set out to do. Barry and Rosemary are Somerset dairy farmers who’ve not been to a cricket match for sixty years. “The last cricket match I went to was at school, sixty years ago”
Billy a beef farmer, he’s also one of those who made the most of the day out, he hasn’t been to watch Somerset play cricket for almost five decades. “It’s interesting to come along and talk about something other than farming for a change.”
And the cricket didn’t disappoint. The following day Somerset moved to the top of the Specsavers County Championship table after a crushing 298-run victory over Yorkshire inside three days at the Cooper Associates County Ground.