I am pleased to report that I have finally met the new NFU Aylesbury branch secretary Mark Wheeler.
After dealing with his predecessor Virginia Stollery for 28 years I can confirm he has a hard act to follow. But as he will be working alongside Virginia’s former colleague, assistant branch secretary Simon Parker, and all the team, I am sure he will soon build great relationships with all the Vale farmers.
In fact Mark had already been out to see a lot of farmers, and he tells me he hopes to meet many more at the AGM to be held in November at Hartwell House. As this meeting also includes a tremendous meal created by brilliant Hartwell chef Daniel Richardson I think all attendees can be assured of a very satisfactory and worthwhile meeting.
Mark should be able to provide empathy and expertise to his clients as he comes from a farming background himself and grew up on a livestock and arable farm near Buckingham.
He was also an enthusiastic young farmer, belonging to the Buckingham club, and helped organise a couple of the rallys.
Another string to his bow, quite literally, is his love of music and he told me he took 18 months out when he was 29-years-old to tour the French Alps playing his base guitar six nights a week and snow boarding seven days a week. As he had been a member of Buckingham rugby club for 17 years he probably had the stamina to survive for a time, but even he admits that in the end, burning the candle at both ends nearly killed him! But it was an adventure he was delighted to have undertaken.