UTTOXETER and District Agricultural Society has celebrated a hugely successful year which included one of its ploughmen achieving national and international success.
Having already finished second in Europe the society’s Alan Critchlow has just finished second in the national championships and will now go forward to the European championships again in Germany next October.
The 54-year-old, who has been a member of the society for around 25 years including two successive terms as chairman, told the Advertiser it was ‘overwhelming’ to represent his country.
“I am absolutely delighted,” he said. “It is something I have always wanted to do since I was a young lad — represent my country.
“It was particularly poignant being in Northern Ireland carrying the English flag into the church in Londonderry. I was overwhelmed to carry the flag for England.
“I never ever thought I would get to this level. In my teens and early 20s I used to compete but became slightly bored with the traditional parallel ploughing but moving up to European level I have found it a lot more challenging.” Mr Critchlow farms in Foston and Scropton with his wife Jacqueline growing crops, rearing chickens and has just built and opened Wheatrig House bed and breakfast on the farm.
He said the passion for ploughing came from a very early age.
He said: “I started as a little kid sitting on my dad’s knee and I was always intrigued how you could transform the surface of soil with a plough.
“I first started ploughing on my own when I was 10 and I couldn’t even reach the pedals and had to stand up. That passion has stayed with me ever since.” The Uttoxeter and District Agricultural Society held its AGM this month and departing chairman David Roobotham said it had been a successful year.
He said: “We are the biggest district in Staffordshire and had a very successful AGM recently. David Rushton is now chairman and Robert Statham is vice chairman of the district.
“Clive Woodward is going to be made chairman of the Staffordshire Agricultural Society and he is a member of the Uttoxeter society, while my eldest brother Graham has been appointed to the board of directors at Staffordshire County Showground, the first member from Uttoxeter to do that.
“I am very happy with the success in ploughing this year and Alan particularly has done very, very well.” The society has a thriving social group and its latest event is Pig Racing and Fish and Chip Supper at Bramshall Village Hall tonight at 7.30pm and tickets cost £5 in aid of the Women’s Land Army memorial fund.