Hannah Brown, known as Brownie, died of sepsis in March last year. It is a rare but extremely serious complication of an infection that without quick treatment can lead to multiple organ failure and in Hannah’s case the ultimate ending of life.
Hannah was a popular and vocal show person and young farmers club member. She was also a young mother. She and her partner Ben Richardson had a daughter, Millie, who had been born in August 2020. Her parents farm at Newton-le-Willows and her young farmers club had always been Winksley-cum-Grantley YFC, a real farming community club that has always raised much-needed funds for many organisations.
Laura Terry, the current chair of Winksley-cum-Grantley and who knew Hannah well as they grew up together in the young farmers movement, said that raising money for greater work in sepsis was a no-brainer and that everyone had got on board.
“I’m a dairy farmer’s daughter and still help out on the farm at Fountains Abbey, where my parents Robert and Ruth have 350 cows, as well as being a physiotherapist for the NHS at Harrogate Hospital where I work in the intensive care and medical wards. I know that sepsis, when it comes can shut down vital organs very quickly if not detected fast.”
Laura said she and Hannah had been constant companions through the YFC organisation.
“I’ve been with Winksley-cum-Grantley YFC since I was 10 years old. Hannah and I went through young farmers together. Our club is the one thing in this community that everyone went to and goes to. It binds us together. My mum and dad were members, mum is a club leader now and at first I tagged along with my cousin Stewart when he was going.
“Hannah had been chair before me. We were the same age and we had done everything together, all of the competitions, all of the events. We would go far and wide. It’s still hard to put into words that she has gone.
“Hannah turned her hand to anything. She wasn’t one to mince her words either. What she said was exactly what she meant and she took great pride in everything she did. We thought the only fitting tribute we could make, as we always raise money for charities, was to raise money for greater research into sepsis.
“Brownie loved nothing more than a night out in one of her many pairs of boots, her favourites being Fairfax & Favor boots, and so we held a sell-out party at Thirsk livestock market a year on from her passing. A good old knees up as Brownie would have loved.
“I’m sure Hannah was watching down on us having her favourite Bailey’s and a boogie.
“We raised £13,100 for the UK Sepsis Trust that night with members past and present of young farmers clubs coming from all over the country.”
Laura said that organising the night in Hannah’s memory had also proved successful in getting Winskley-cum-Grantley YFC back under way again since the pandemic restrictions lifted and that she sees the club now entering a new and exciting time with lots of new members.
“I always say the future of young farmers clubs is bright because there are always committed, talented and strong members. During Covid there really wasn’t much of a YFC movement but now I see hundreds of new members across the whole of the country as well as Yorkshire.
“Winksley-cum-Grantley YFC is already in a better position than we were before the pandemic. We now have 40 members and most of those are active and fully committed. We now have a large percentage of the club in the age range of between 10 to 16 which is really good.
“Many of them hadn’t taken part in either our local Harrogate District Rally or the Yorkshire County Rally before. Everyone came back smiling from the Harrogate District Rally where we only finished one point behind second placed Felliscliffe YFC. I took that fact that everyone was smiling as our real win.”
Laura said the time she has put in during the past year has been well worth the effort.
“It’s certainly not just me but every single one of us, like our club treasurer Jess Hunton. We’ve had multiple phone calls getting everything sorted because there’s far more to it all. You have to make sure of memberships and that members are insured. There are lots of legal things.
“It’s also about making sure that new members see what’s what and really understand that young farmers clubs are run for the members by the members. It’s not about turning up every week and the adults have organised something. I think our club members appreciate the hard work that goes into planning. We have great backup from our club leaders including my mum, Alison Walmsley, Lindsey Atkinson, James Middleton and Richard Metcalfe.
“The great thing about our club is that we are completely inclusive. Largely our membership is from farming families or those with a farming connection, but anyone and everyone can come and get something out of it and often put just the same amount if not more back, just the way Hannah did.”
Winksley-cum-Grantley YFC is one of Yorkshire’s oldest young farmers clubs and this year sees its 80th anniversary. After the huge success of the event at Thirsk to raise money for the UK Sepsis Trust Laura said she is looking forward to another big bash in October.
“We are preparing for our 80th anniversary right now and have tickets available for our dinner and dance to be held at the Royal Hall in Harrogate where we are hoping to fill the hall and put together another great night the way young farmers clubs do!”