THE Bishop of Exeter will be taking part in a special service tomorrow, Sunday, February 20, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Young Farmers’ Club movement.

Hemyock Calf Club was founded in East Devon in 1921 and evolved into the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs, which is now one of the largest rural youth organisations in the UK.

It has 19,000 members aged 10 to 28 years.

The service, which was postponed from last year due to the pandemic, will take place at St Mary’s Church, Hemyock at 2.30pm and will feature members of the local Young Farmers’ Club and some live calves.

Members of the village have also made giant calf lanterns which will be on display in the church. They were the centrepiece of the village’s annual December light parade, which was in honour of the Calf Club centenary.

The Rector, Rev Becky Totterdell, said: “The Calf Club, formed in 1921, was a very creative way to develop the interest and skills of local young people in farming.

"It was just after the First World War when food was still scarce and the need for new enterprise was great.

"The Calf Club’s focus on the four H’s of ’Head, Heart, Hands and Health’ was a winner and resulted in the Young Farmers’ Club becoming an international movement.

"This area of the Blackdown Hills is an immensely creative area generally, and it is great to see music, craft work and film production by members of the village community all playing a part in this celebration.”

Georgie Pengelly, Culm Valley Young Farmers’ press secretary said: “The Culm Valley Young Farmers’ are very proud of the heritage that sparked what is now an international organisation.”

The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell, is chair of the Church of England’s Rural Interest Group and speaks on rural issues in the House of Lords.

He said: “I’m delighted to be at this centenary where we celebrate a new generation of farmers. Devon has some of the best farmland in England and it’s great to see the resilience and creativity of the farming community.”