Fornham St Martin farmworker celebrates two milestones

George Manning at Hall Farm, Forham St Martin, who was named National Farm Worker of the Year.
George Manning at Hall Farm, Forham St Martin, who was named National Farm Worker of the Year.

A dedicated farmworker from Fornham St Martin has had his life’s work on an estate in Bury recognised at a national awards ceremony - the day before he celebrated his golden wedding anniversary.

George Manning, 75, began working on Hall Farm 60 years ago and was named National Farmworker of the Year at the prestigious Farmers Weekly Awards 2014 on October 2.

George Manning of Forham St Martin, National Farm Worker of the Year, with his wife Muriel.

George Manning of Forham St Martin, National Farm Worker of the Year, with his wife Muriel.

The following day he and wife Muriel, 70, celebrated 50 years of marriage after meeting at a dance in Bury’s Atheneum and tying the knot in Cockfield church.

Of his award George said: “It is a great achievement. I never thought I’d get this far.

“I’m going into my 61st year at Hall Farm now, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. I started as a boy and it has come naturally.”

George, who lives on the estate, started helping Hall Farm’s gardener as a teenager, moving up the ranks to a job driving the farm’s crop lorries, a position he held for 45 years.

He said the job involved long-distance trips, but this didn’t present much of a problem for him and Muriel, who worked as a shop assistant in Boots at the time.

“I was never away for more than about two nights at a time, so it was not too bad for us,” said George.

The couple went together to the Farmers Weekly Awards at the Grosvenor House Hotel, in London, which is hailed as ‘the Oscars of the farming world’ and welcomed more than 1,200 people this year.

Owner of Hall Farm Andrew Long said: “It was a very exciting night for George, who has worked for my grandfather and father for 60 years.

“We are very proud to see him receive the award. It is a great honour for him.”

His wife Gina Long said: “It is so richly deserved. And celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary too - what a year he has had!”