THE date for the first round of the always much-anticipated Young Farmers’ entertainment competition has been announced as this year’s Northumberland chairman considers his time in office.

On February 10, three groups – Whitley Chapel, Stamfordham and Tritlington with Coquetdale – will start the ball rolling by presenting three productions at Hexham’s Queen’s Hall.

Edward Dungait, for one, will be there cheering the participants on.

A member of Tritlington Young Farmers for the past decade, he assumed the reins during November’s annual meeting.

He is joined by Gina Tailford, from Shaftoe YFC, as vice-chairman, Leanne Little, from Bellingham YFC, as junior vice-chairman, and Vicky Harrison, from Stamfordham YFC, as competitions secretary.

The entertainments competition was just one example of the activities that showed Young Farmers was thriving, and certainly in Northumberland, said Edward.

“For the past few years, the county branch has been running extremely well and my main aim is to make sure that continues,” he said.

“The membership has been pretty stable, with 10 clubs and a total of 550 members, for quite a long time now.

“Some of the ones that have been counted as smaller clubs in the past are booming, to the point that they’re no longer regarded as small.”

Shaftoe was one such, having run a successful recruitment drive of late.

Both Shaftoe and Bellingham were punching above their weight, he said. “Bellingham is still pretty small in terms of membership, but they compete in every competition and do really well.”

The YFC leagues, based on the points gained in the annual round of competitions, ran from September to September and at this almost half-way stage, Bellingham was in second place in both the senior and junior leagues.

It was a pleasure to see the number of events and charitable fund-raising drives Northumberland’s 10 clubs organised each year, he said.

But the public gain was also matched by personal reward – many acknowledged they had grown in confidence and social ease thanks to the clubs.

Tickets for the entertainment competition are available from the YFC county office.