Meet Sarah Chidgey, one of the newest members of the Guild.
A tenant farmer’s daughter from Somerset, I now live in Baydon, Wiltshire. My Dad farmed at Colepool Farm, Stogursey, near Bridgwater in Somerset, between The Quantocks and the Bristol Channel (I had so much fun as a member of Quantock Young Farmers!)
Over the years we had a dairy herd, grew beans and peas (which were picked by local travellers), grew some corn, reared calves, had pigs and bullocks and made good horse hay. We always had sheep and I was taught how to lamb as soon as I was old enough to count how many lambs’ legs I could feel.
For many years Dad stood a Thoroughbred stallion, firstly for the Hunter Improvement Society (HIS) and then he found suitable stallions from his hunting/racing contacts. In the covering season the farm was always full of mares, some with foals at foot. Dad had a pack of hounds for a total of 32 seasons so horses and hounds were, and are, a huge part of my life. I love my racing and am a member at Newbury Racecourse.
After doing A levels plus a secretarial course, I worked for a local firm of solicitors in Bridgwater as a junior legal secretary and then went to Paris as an au pair but ran away after two months! What I was supposed to be earning in a week was what I was being paid a month and I had no time off!
I was then lucky enough to get a job in Windsor with Pedens (international bloodstock shipping agents). I shipped horses throughout Europe and the UK and shipped the British three-day-event team. One summer I shipped every polo pony that came to the UK from the Argentine. Having shipped polo ponies to France for the famous Deauville Polo Tournament, I went for the weekend and didn’t come back. I spent two years in France going racing and generally having fun, doing enough temping work to pay the bills.
Back in the UK, I had some super PA jobs and then took a secretarial temping role at a Marketing/PR Agency in Newbury, Berkshire, and the rest as they say, is history. I have been working in PR for 21+ years, the last 14 as a freelance consultant.
My PR background is largely in hi-tech and telecoms and I have worked for some great clients who have given me fantastic opportunities for example, travelling to Beijing to appoint a Chinese PR company to help successfully launch a client into the Asian marketplace.
At the back end of last year, I was appointed by BDC Systems Ltd (provider of complete grain handling solutions) to help raise awareness of who it is and what it does. Working with BDC made me realise I wanted to be much, much more involved in the agricultural sector and hopefully give a bit back to the farming community. After all, farming and the rural community has made me who I am!