More than 3,000 young farmers turn up for ‘unofficial convention’

The weekend’s unofficial young farmers’ convention appears to have passed off without any significant malice – despite as many as 3,500 young people turning up.

Police in Blackpool told AgriLand there were “no significant incidents” involving young farmers in the town over the weekend, despite warnings they would take a no-nonsense approach to trouble this year.

Clubs and bars also seemed satisfied with revellers’ behaviour, with many posting on social media to say the crowd would be welcome back next year.

Some prepared by covering the dancefloor in sawdust to soak up spilt drinks and by moving furniture out of the way to make room for the large crowds.

The biggest incident during the weekend appeared to involve an ambulance crew. Posting on social media, a paramedic said that a group of between six and eight young men – thought to be young farmers – had tried to jump onto the crew’s vehicle in the early hours of Sunday morning (May 5).

A spokeswoman for North West Ambulance Service said it could not confirm the incident as the staff member involved was off duty today.

It added, that while it does not log whether incidents are related to events such as the weekend’s gathering, there was no notable increase in the number of call-outs recorded.

The event’s founder John Houseman said the unsanctioned event aimed to try and prove that only a small minority of those who attended the convention had caused trouble.

This year, organisers estimate that between 3,000 and 3,500 turned up. The last official convention was attended by around 6,000 people.

Since no conference fee was needed to attend, organisers decided to raise money for Air Ambulance UK and Blackpool RNLI instead. So far around £7,000 has been raised.

However, despite efforts to convince NFYFC to reverse its decision to scrap the annual convention in Blackpool, the organisation said the event was not reflective of its aim to promote the achievements of young people involved in agriculture.

NFYFC chairman of the Board of Management Delme Harries said: “We understand why some young farmers wanted to get together in Blackpool this year and to take part in what was billed as a ‘young farmers’ event by the local bars.

The Annual Convention was a much-loved occasion but was sadly attracting a negative reputation due to excessive drinking and poor behaviour in the town.

“This bank holiday weekend showed that the large bars in Blackpool are able to host their own event for young farmers.

“This type of event is not reflective of the organisation’s purpose or charitable aims that NFYFC’s Board and Council are tasked with upholding.

“NFYFC’s Annual Convention was about celebrating members’ achievements, hosting competitions, representing industry and bringing our clubs together.

“As part of our strategic review, any future national events would need to continue to reflect these aims and the needs of all of our members aged 10 to 26.”