We set off on Friday, from Wootton. 50 young farmers jammed in a coach for about 4 and a half hours with no aircon and the heaters stuck on full, it didn’t sound like the best way to spend our morning, but the drinks on the way made it that more than bearable (our top tip – don’t take beer/cider, you’ll be sat there with your legs crossed desperate for the loo after an hour!) When we finally arrived in Blackpool we went straight to the hotel and met Darren, the hotel manager (who was a total LAD, his speciality: flavoured Sambuca shots– be careful).
After chucking our bags in the room which seemed like the short straw for us us our room was at the very top of the hotel, Iona discovered she had left her purse on the bus (she has admitted she is a complete fool and her punishment came later). We then went to register and get our wristbands, which was easier said than done, when you have someone with no ID/membership card, who wasn’t on database and also had 2 other members who didn’t appear to be on the system! After talking to various helpers, everyone was registered and ready to go! We then headed out to a bar to get some drinks in before the evening do!
The first night was a black tie ball; having only seen most of our county members in casual clothes, dressing up was a nice change. We headed down to the Winter Gardens, for what was set to be a good night. The first thing we noticed was the amount of people, more than 6,000 people ready for a good night! Aled Jones was DJing and did a great job, I ended up losing all of the Bedfordshire lot fairly early on, but ended up making some new friends from Warwickshire, who I had a great night partying with! After being reunited with everyone we headed back at the hotel, we had a well needed sleep before being woken up at 5am by what sounded like something dying outside our window. It appears seagulls in Blackpool NEVER sleep...
As we awoke on the second day to mine and Annabelle’s surprise everyone was up at 9am and already having an early morning beverage, for us having only just turned 18 we haven’t experienced university or an AGM before so we were already a step behind on how much we could consume, even though the effects from the night before were starting to hit us we did what true farmers do, we joined in; ‘the best way to cure a hangover is to carry on’.
The second night was fancy dress – Where’s Wally. It was pretty amazing to see loads of people wearing exactly the same thing, and everyone seemed far more excited – who doesn’t like a bit of fancy dress?!
This was fine, until we lost everyone again, finding someone when everyone looks the same is far harder than finding a needle in a haystack... After a while of mingling we spotted a group of people with some fairly unorthodox dancing, this could only be one group of people – North Beds! We then spent the rest of the night having a laugh with all of them, before heading back to the hotel for another well needed sleep!
My most memorable night would probably have been the last night: Sunday, Kangaroo Court night. It started off with everyone just taking a shot of dirty pint from Henrys gun which I think he enjoyed giving more than anyone else enjoyed taking. All the AGM virgins (first timers) got called up including me and Annabelle, this got me nervous as I had no idea what to expect, luckily we only had to take a tame Sambuca shot (apparently half the shots were water and the other half were Sambuca but I didn’t believe that for a second…)
I was thinking so far so good and then I got called up and had to take my forfeit as a result of leaving my purse on the bus, making me the biggest hassle of the weekend. It started with taking a spoonful of dry instant coffee then having to eat a pickled egg filled with chili in it (bear in mind I can’t even eat plain Nandos as I find it too spicy..) It was awful; the dirty pint after seemed pleasant at this point. All I have to say that I was impressed with myself, getting it down and keeping it down.
After the kangaroo court had finished punishing everyone we all went down to the Winter Palace for the final party in our club shirts, where everyone was swapping them with different clubs as they mingled. I believe one of the best things about Young Farmers is no matter whom you are, you can talk to anyone as all of the people are so friendly. This is quite lucky for Annabelle, who if you hadn’t noticed, is pretty good at losing everyone... luckily for her she had made friends with the Welsh club that were staying at our hotel! It had been a great end to our first AGM; needless to say, all we did on the coach home was sleep!
We both completely recommended AGM to any member! It’s an experience we will never forget. It’s one of the best ways to spend time with other members of other clubs in county, and best of all you meet other young farmers from all over the country. Just make sure you never leave your purse on the bus, unless you don’t have a top friend like Annabelle who will pay for you for the whole weekend!
Iona Sapsed & Annabelle Bates - AGM first timers.