12 March 1999

Caring Hayley far more than a top competitor…

Hayley Price has become

one of the best known

prime cattle exhibitors in

Wales, but most of her

time is spent helping

rural communities,

reports Robert Davies

MENTION Hayleys name and people who know the fatstock show circuit describe her as very young, diminutive – she is a little over 5ft tall – but highly skilled and fiercely competitive. Invariably they also mention her habit of bursting into tears when she wins.

In fact Hayley Price is 28 years old, has a first class social sciences degree, and holds down a senior job with the Princes Trust Bro. The organisation was launched in 1996 to promote environmentally sustainable rural development, especially through voluntary action at local community level.

As development officer for Powys, Hayley has a huge job co-ordinating the activities by a wide range of community based public, private and voluntary organisations involved in quality of life enhancing practical projects. She can offer information, advice, guidance on training, technical assistance and limited grant aid.

"Bro tries to create and co-ordinate community based partnerships to work on specific schemes, and to help young people gain the confidence, skills and recognition that improve their chances of making a success of their lives. This is especially important in communities facing difficulties for economic or social reasons."

The organisation is backed by the Welsh Office, the Welsh Development Agency, environmental bodies, Welsh Water, the Wales Tourist Board and a host of other organisations. Hayley says that the network stimulates grassroots voluntary effort, and makes a real difference to peoples lives.

The desire to make a difference was one reason why she decided not to join her parents, uncle and brother Terry farming at Tyleheulog, Erwood. The farm is just a few miles from the site of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, at which she has twice shown the supreme cattle champion.

&#42 Breeding decisions

She still spends a lot of time working with the familys cattle, making breeding decisions choosing animals to show, training them to be led, and preparing them for the showring. But she decided as a schoolgirl that she aspired to something other than farming routine. Though shy she wanted to meet people and to do something to make their lives more enjoyable and satisfying.

"Farming can be a wonderful way of life that feeds the nation and contributes a lot to rural communities. I love the time I spend with the show cattle, but I know I need a challenge off the farm."

Her work with the community of Rhosgoch is typical. When a nine-hole golf course was threatened with closure the village could have been left without social and leisure facilities. A group led by local farmer Norman Lloyd invested £160,000 of their own and borrowed money into the site.

It is now a successful golf club, the main community resource and home to a range of other clubs. Almost the whole community attended the last New Years Eve party. When Hayley was approached for help she arranged grant aid and organised volunteers, including members of Rhosgoch YFC, to landscape the area in front of the clubhouse.

"Elsewhere Bro is involved in activities ranging from planting community woodlands to working on the grounds of a daycare centre, something being done at present by Machynlleth YFC. The variety is enormous so there is no chance of getting bored. I get tremendous satisfaction from seeing the way schemes can unite people and make them proud of their communities."

And what would make Hayley most proud?

The answer is winning Birmingham Fatstock Show and confounding the minority who still believe that showing prime cattle is no job for a young woman.