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  • Chris Jackson

Feeling good about today's youth

Updated: May 15

There are some days that are good and you can't imagine they'd get any better but, as you'll hear for yourself further down this blog, that's just what happened to me when I went out on assignment for Radio 4's Farming Today.


After the Covid lockdown I was thrilled to get a commission to travel to Whitby and the North York Moors to interview two very different generations who'd been brought together by the pandemic in a rather joyous way.



Tourists on park bench looking out over Whitby Abbey
Whitby in all its glory

It's a fabulous drive down from Tyneside at the best of times, but the skies were a near cloudless blue and the sun was throwing out the first proper warmth of Spring.


I'd arrived early and treated myself to a stroll around the cliffs above the harbour and breathe in the fresh sea air. It was as if the veil of Covid had been lifted, but I was there to work.


First stop was to the home of retired farmer, 89 year old Noel Norris. Still driving, but mobility doesn't preclude isolation. He is missing the craic of the banter at the farmer's mart. He's not there to buy or sell nowadays but to revel in the day to day chat of his farming community that has been his life all his life. He is a rather shy reserved man, but his glorious Yorkshire accent conveys the rich character within. He's not one for emotion but his eyes light up when talking about farming.


Covid brought those conversations at the mart to a halt. Something that the Ryedale Carer's Support had spotted and wondered how to fix. Rural isolation was already an issue, but the pandemic was making it a whole lot worse.


Whilst retired and elderly farmers were unable to meet up, younger farmers were getting on with the job. The day to day of animal husbandry can't be put on hold by a lockdown. The solution was to bring the generations together and so out on the stunning moors above Lealholm I next met 19 year old Lacy Hewison.


For someone used to texting and social media is was back to the basics of a landline and a real conversation. Lacy had been paired with Noel in a new phone befriending service. 70 years apart, they soon found how much they had in common.


In the midst of lambing Lacy still found the time to call Noel and let him know what was going on down on the farm. Her zest for life and a genuine care for her elders shines through while talking to her.


You can hear my report here to get a feel for these two great individuals and hopefully you'll feel as warm inside as I did that afternoon.



It was already a great day when I set off, but by the time I got back home I was invigorated not just by the weather, the elements and the scenery but by a renewed faith in the meaning of community.

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