18 January 2002

Lively pair enrich lives of FWC folk

STOUR Valley contact leader Jane Ridgway lives up on a hill overlooking her adopted county of south Warks – Gods Own, she calls it.

She and her husband Geoff, with children Tom and Rebecca, moved to Downs Farm, Epwell, in 1988 and have never looked back.

Its a real family business, 262ha (560 acres) with a 100-head dairy herd, 150 sheep and some arable land. Tom, 28, works with his parents on the farm while Rebecca, 26, has a job in nearby Banbury.

The day I visited was very frosty and having driven around the villages of Tysoe and Epwell and admired the windmill on their farm from afar, I finally made an entrance into their welcoming farmhouse kitchen in time for a bowl of hot soup with the work-force – Tom, Geoff and Jane.

After lunch Geoff drove Jane and I up over the fields to the windmill so I could get a closer look and admire the view of five counties.

Unfortunately a mist had gathered so the view was restricted. Although it was freezing up there, Geoff said that Jane and I would soon warm up walking down the hill towards Tysoe and promptly drove off with my handbag on board.

It was a pleasant walk to where her parents, Irene and Doug Norman, now live and so good to see them in their new home. After catching up on all their news, Geoff reappeared to drive us back to the farm.

Jane started up the Stour Valley group several years ago with her friends Muriel Paxton, Ann Pendleton and Sue Price and they have a very interesting programme planned for this year.

They believe in including husbands and partners for some of their meetings. The menfolk do enjoy the companionship and fun that FWC generates so why should they miss out?

However, Geoff is busy enough – he is out shooting when time permits and is at present branch chairman of the South Warwickshire NFU so it looks as if life in the Ridgway household will be as busy as ever in 2002.

What an asset to the neighbourhood that this lively couple are prepared to spend time arranging events that will enrich the lives of their fellow farmers, friends and relatives.

Jean Howells

Jane and Geoff at the windmill from where, weather permitting, five counties can

be seen.

Christopher Spensley enjoys some winter fun on the lovely Super Tramp toboggan he won in the farmers weekly Childrens Art Competition. The seven-year-old from Elslack, North Yorks, was one of 10 winners in the competition.

CORNWALL

Mon, Mar 11, noon. Meet at Tregarth Hotel, Constantine Bay for programme planning and lunch. Old and new members welcome. Contact Jean Howells (020-8652 4927).

DERBYSHIRE

Tue, Jan 29, 12.30pm. Meet at Pentrich Village Hall for talk by Margaret Parker. Please bring a plate lunch. Contact Ada Ottewell (01332-880996).