We began the year with an excellent start, Toby Lawton became National Junior Member of the Year, and we managed to fill the main room at the Oak with new members. Rather intimidating having so many faces look at you with expectation!
First, competitions were soon with us, as everyone battled hangovers after Laura's 21st. The lads attempted Basketball whilst the girls won the Hockey, but approaching fast was the Grand Bang Bonfire and advertisement was needed; unfortunately the police didn't see it that way and thought we were protesters.
Christmas was soon drawing near and we put our best voices out to raise money for charity, with thanks to our amazing talent we successfully raised £250 however I don't think it was the singing. Before the month was over we were joined at our Christmas meal by Santa and his Elves, who all seemed intent on warming themselves on anybody they could get their hands on!
For the first time this year we held a 'P' Party at Cotes Heath Village Hall and I don't think I've ever seen so many fantastic costumes, especially the lads from Ashley,
The Public Speaking Competitions Day will always be one to remember, especially as know one really enjoys speaking to an audience, we won the Intermediate Brainstrust for the first time in 18 years. Well when you've got three ladies and Toby there's bound to be a good debate.
Although Emma Johnson wasn't quite sure how to distinguish between the sexes of pigs despite this we successfully won the Overall Stockjudging Team for 2007 which has seen Harriet Wilson a new junior member get through to West Mids and Matthew Wright secured himself a place in the Dairy Stockjudging finals.
At this point I must mention how well Stuart Barrow has taught me about grass leys, this year was my first time competing and we both won. I'm led to believe that his knowledge is so great that other competitors were too intimidated to turn up!
This year we all travelled down to Torquay to have a fantastic weekend at the National AGM which has left us with many fond memories, although Meg did manage to wake up in a strange bed, fully clothed not sure how she got there, and managed to leave without saying thank you. And then there's the tales we shall save for another day.
Our high light of the year has to be the County Show, This years Float took us back to the 1850's Gold Rush, to dig for gold on a float that was held together with a few screws and a lot of papier-mâché, our saloon girls including Adam Williams in a very fetching dress danced their way to success, Laura and Emma won first place with their Display Boards, and we took 2nd place in the Five Minutes of Fame, which saw Steve and Meg miming to Holly's singing.
Two lessons of the year have to be:-
1- Always remember to take your keys out of your tractor, especially when competing at the Safety and Efficiency Competition, as the judge is not looking after it for you.
2- Name your Raft appropriately and don't call it the “Titanic” as you are tempting fate, we sank in view of the finishing line we all abandoned the ship except for Tom who thought the water was too cold and drifted down to the finish, whilst the rest of us ran the wrong way.
As my year has come to an end Eccleshall has by no means taken their foot off the gas, in search for victory, we won the Hammer from Waterhouses, having challenged them to egg tossing and rolling on the straw and only having navigated Lichfield town centre with tractor and plough on route to the Ploughing Marathon, which was a challenge in its self, we succeeded in bring home the silver.
This leaves me to say congratulations and thank you to everyone who's been involved and supported this year, and a big thank you to my excellent top table for keeping me in line over the past 12 months. I hope that everyone who has taken part, have enjoyed themselves as much as I have. The old saying is true, the more you put in the more you'll get out.
Good luck to next years top table. May you have as much fun and support as I've had this year.