CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Adam Henson: saluting those unsung farming heroes who touch the lives of so many

PUBLISHED: 09:00 13 July 2015


Britain’s farmers are an amazing lot. They come in all shapes and sizes, from every age group and all types of backgrounds. But what connects them all is the incredible lengths they will go to in the name of farming and to support their local communities.

I’ve always known there were some remarkable people out there, but it really hit home when we launched our search for the Countryfile Farming Hero Award. We wanted to find an exceptional and inspirational man or woman; the sort of person you can’t help but look up to and who would do anything for their family, friends or colleagues.

Well it’s fair to say that the response from the viewers was really heart-warming. We were sent the names of more than 800 people who had touched the lives of others. It was my job to get the mountain of nominations down to a shortlist of just three with the help of my fellow judges; Charlotte Smith from Countryfile and Radio 4’s Farming Today programme and the livestock and arable farmer Mike Gooding.

We were all impressed by the story of Robert Bertram, a 68-year-old shepherd who lives and works in the Northumberland National Park. In January he saved the life of his neighbour, Mark, who had been involved in an accident on his quad bike when it overturned on a snow covered mountainside.

Worried that he hadn’t returned, Robert set off on a search through blizzard conditions until he found Mark, badly injured but still breathing.

One of the most moving stories we heard was about 17-year-old Cameron Hendry from Perthshire. On Christmas Day last year his dad, David, collapsed and died from an undiagnosed heart condition. Without a second thought for himself, Cameron stepped in to take over the running of the family farm and support his mum and his younger brother.

But after a lot of soul searching we finally decided on a winner; a truly remarkable lady called Joan Bomford. At the age of 82 she’s still a bundle of energy and can be found hard at work every day on her Worcestershire beef farm. Her real passion is her horses and over the years she has taught more than 2,000 people to ride, including many disabled people. She’s also staged numerous equestrian events, raised money for charity and even hosted her local agricultural show when it faced closure. Joan bowled us all over with her zest for life and in the words of the lady herself: “It’s a waste of time to sit around and do nothing, so make the most of it”. 

I don’t think you could find a more fitting motto to live by.



Hampshire walk along the Mill Trail to Whitchurch - Follow Steve Davison to Whitchurch in the north-west corner of Hampshire for a meander along the Mill Trail

More from Out & About

Fri, 10:42

Is this the ultimate city break? Winchester has it all: from ancient history to space exploration, plus cafes, cocktails, culture and countryside… But with so much to do, choices are going to have to be made

Read more
Fri, 09:55

10 of best photos of Hampshire shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Mon, 15:25

Remember, remember… Here’s a quick round up of some stunning displays across Hampshire this year

Read more
Mon, 15:22

The community shop is thriving. Why? And what makes the perfect village store? We went in search…

Read more
Mon, 14:27

From Jane Austen to Karl Marx, our towns and villages have fascinating links to some of the biggest historical celebrities. Viv Micklefield follows in their footsteps with the help of a blue plaque or two

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Our guide to some of the best Halloween events on offer across Hampshire this October

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

We round up 8 things you didn’t know about this little South Downs village

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Enjoy some easy walking around the Lymington to Keyhaven Nature Reserve says Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

Head to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the charming villages of Brighstone and Mottistone, taking in superb views, an ancient monument and enchanting gardens with our new walks writer, Fiona Barltrop

Read more
Monday, September 24, 2018

With the centenary of the end of World War One commemorated this year, the reopening of the iconic Royal Victoria Chapel, part of our military heritage, is timely

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

This year Winchester’s Theatre Royal celebrates the 40th anniversary of its re-opening as a performance theatre

Read more
Monday, September 17, 2018

Avon Valley, Beer and Cake is the ABC of why Ringwood, a busy market town on the western edge of the New Forest, makes a quirkily clever choice for a break away

Read more
Monday, September 10, 2018

Lego enthusiast Duncan Titmarsh has built his business brick by brick; from tinkering in his garden shed to internationally acclaimed sculptures

Read more
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search