A GREAT advocate of farming and the involvement of young people in the countryside was given the coveted South of England Agricultural Society’s Fellowship Award for service to the society.
Mary Masters, 69, of Deans Farm Cottages, from Piddinghoe has been a member of the society for more than 30 years.
The award is given only rarely for the most outstanding commitment to agriculture and the encouragement of farming and countryside matters.
Mary said: “I was gob smacked. I really had no idea at all that it was coming. It took me a few days to take it all in.
“It’s a lovely experience working with young people and educating them about the countryside, as well as inspiring young people to appreciate the countryside and how it produces the food they eat.”
Mary has a long standing history of involvement with young people and has been active with the Young Farmers’ Club for more than 50 years at club, county and national levels.
At the South of England Agricultural Society, she has been a member of committees covering its annual calendar of countryside and farming events, most notably for 30 years on the YFC committee, 22 years on the farm food fair committee and numerous years on the education committee, which she previously chaired for five years.
Mary was pivotal in helping to establish the successful Connect with the Countryside event that brings more than 2,000 children to the South of England Centre at Ardingly.
Each year the annual event enables them to discover and understand the importance of agriculture in the production of food, as well as the survival of wildlife and the relevance of biodiversity.
Mary dedicated four years to the task of fundraising to launch Connect with the Countryside and assisted in raising significant funds to enable the society to stage the hugely successful event.