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Country News - 2003

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Back on the farm: Sir Ben Gill

Monday 08 December 2003

NORTH Yorkshire's newest knight, Sir Ben Gill, was back on the farm this morning - a drastic change from the splendours of Buckingham Palace, where he was tapped on the shoulder by Prince Charles on Friday for his services to agriculture, conservation and the community.

Sir Ben, battling president of the National Farmers' Union, works 360 acres near Easingwold, growing cereals, sugar beet and rearing some 500 ewes and store lambs.

Although well known in the farming community for many years, he became a national figure during the foot and mouth crisis two years ago, when he alternated between lambasting Government failures in tackling the disease and offering sound advice and a cool head at times when MAFF and later Defra seemed gripped with panic.

He says he is "delighted" with the knighthood - but says it is a reflection not of his personal achievement but of the professionalism of the NFU staff.


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