Sunday, 4 January 2009

Reunion party for Land Girls 60 years after leaving graffiti on Exmoor farm

EXMOOR farming couple Roger and Penny Webber (pictured) are to throw a reunion party for a group of women who worked there 60 years ago.
The women were Land Girls who helped to keep the country’s agricultural industry running during and after the Second World War.
All but one of the five Land Girls has been traced by Mr and Mrs Webber after they uncovered graffiti on a white-washed wall in one of their barns at Hindon Organic Farm, Selworthy.
The graffiti was created in 1948 by Land Girls Greta-Merle Williams, Margaret Routley, Audrey Owen, Hilda Coles, and Jacqueline Ferris, who dated their work and gave names and ages.
Mr and Mrs Webber have now been in contact with four of the women - who all still live locally to West Somerset - but have not yet been able to track down Jacqueline Ferris.
For Mr Webber, aged 61, there is a special significance to the occasion, as his father Colin married Enid Burt, who was also in the Women’s Land Army and was one of the first Land Girls to work on the farm, which has been in the Webber family for generations.
The five Land Girls whom he wants to invite to the reunion were in a second batch to work on the farm after the war.
They were part of a Land Army Corps barracked in Old Cleeve, and they worked on several local farms.
Mr Webber said: “Because of my mum, I know what a wonderful job these incredible women did for the country.
“They did every job a man was expected to do and most of them had never lifted so much as a bucket before in their lives.
“We thought it would be nice to get them all back together so they can meet each other again and have a chat about old times.”
Mr Webber said the reunion party would be held in the spring when the weather was warmer.
One of the former Land Girls, Greta-Merle Williams (nee Edge), is now aged 79 and living in Watchet.
She was only 19-years-old when she worked at Hindon Farm, and recalled the day when the women left their writings on the barn wall: “We had been collecting hay and were sat on top of it on a cart.
“It was incredibly hard work but it was a lovely farm, one of the nicest I worked on, and we decided to make our mark on it.
“We never thought it would last, I was amazed to find out it was all still there.”
Anybody with any information about the Land Girls who worked at Hindon Farm can call Roger and Penny Webber on 01643 705244.

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