Society announces 2019 student assignment winner

The South of England Agricultural Society is delighted to announce that four students – Ben Willdig from Hampshire, Jo Owens and Clare Peffers from Surrey, and Lesley Shipway from Sussex – have been selected as its 2019 Student Assignment Competition winners.

Open to anyone studying at land-based colleges in the South, the Student Assignment Competition is designed to encourage individual research, to improve knowledge and develop study skills. Split into academic levels 1-4 depending on the educational course they are studying (1 = entry level, 4 = Degree or similar), participants had to submit a written research presentation to the judges on a subject of their choice.

This year students from across the South East region, studying courses in agriculture, machinery, floristry and viticulture, entered the competition including those from Brinsbury Campus at Chichester College in West Sussex, Merrist Wood College in Surrey, Plumpton College in East Sussex and Sparsholt College in Hampshire.

Ben Willdigg of Sparsholt College won first place in the Level 1 competition with his well-constructed and interesting manual, detailing the main aspects of calf rearing. 2nd and 3rd place prizes were also awarded to Daniel Rodgers and Leona Snelling from Chichester College for their research on British deer and butterflies respectively.

At Level 2 it was Jo Owens from Merrist Wood that scooped first place thanks to her floristry submission identifying colour relationships via the colour wheel. Jo’s fellow student Carol Flowerday scooped 2nd place for her work identifying elements and principles of design as applied to floristry, using a series of designs to demonstrate each of form, texture, colour, space and line.

Clare Peffers, also from Merrist Wood, was named the winner of the Level 3 category after submitting an impressive and diverse wedding and formal design floristry portfolio. 2nd and 3rd place prizes were also awarded to Lauren Snow and Victoria Cheeseman from Plumpton College for their submissions on performance horse injuries and investigation into the creative design process in floristry.

Finally, it was Lesley Shipway from Plumpton College that took the first-place prize within the Level 4 entries, thanks to her investigation into erosion loss on an undesignated footpath on the South Downs. Fellow Plumpton students, Domenico Doronzo and Frederick Johnson were then awarded 2nd and 3rd prizes for their research on the UK wine trade.

All winners and runners up were presented with their prizes – £150 first place, £75 second place and £50 third place – by The South of England Agricultural Society’s 2019 President, Sir Richard Kleinwort and Des Lambert, past principal of Plumpton College at the Society’s Autumn Show and Game Fair (5-6 October).

Sir Richard, commented:

“A huge congratulations to all our 2019 Student Assignment prize winners. It is an absolute delight to see so many wonderful and well-thought entries being submitted to this competition.

“As a Society one of our main objectives is to inspire and support the next generation of UK agriculturalists and showcase just how inspiring and rewarding this industry can be and highlight the effect that their hard work ultimately has on the entire population.”