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Harper Ireland members attend annual dinner

Posted 20 February 2013

It’s been an honour to be chairman of the club. Being part of Harper Ireland has allowed me to make contacts and friends for life.

Out-going chairman, Niall Morrow, Harper Adams University Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Llewellyn and incoming chairman, David Thornton

It was an evening of celebration for students, staff and special guests at the annual Harper Ireland dinner on Friday.

The event was organised by the student association of the same name and was held at the Hadley Park House Hotel in Telford.

Celebrations began with a three-course meal before outgoing chairman, Niall Morrow, welcomed guests and introduced incoming chairman, David Thornton.

Nineteen-year-old Niall from Belfast, who is studying a BSc/BSc Honours degree in Agriculture with Mechanisation, said: “It’s been an honour to be chairman of the club. Being part of Harper Ireland has allowed me to make contacts and friends for life. I wish David all the best and have got faith in him to do the job.”

A highlight of the evening was guest speaker, Jim McCarthy, who gave advice to the students by sharing the story behind his career.

Mr McCarthy, from Kildare, is a first generation farmer and an entrepreneur in farming. He began farming for himself in the late 1980s, became Irish arable farmer of the year in 1987 and in 1996 was granted one of the first Nuffield Farming Scholarships. In 2005, he was one of the founding partners of Agroterra Ireland, which raised $56,000,000 in London and Dublin buying 12,300 hectares of double cropping in Argentina. Today he is the chief executive officer of Blue Yulan SA Luxembourg, and a director of Agricultural Capital Partners.

He said: “All of you who are attending Harper have made two wonderful decisions. Firstly, you have gone into agriculture and secondly, you have got into Harper.

“You probably think that you now will deserve a wonderful career after your time at Harper, but your education is only beginning.”

Dr David Llewellyn, Vice-Chancellor of Harper Adams University, thanked Mr McCarthy for speaking at the dinner and supporting Harper Ireland.

He also thanked the club’s out-going committee and wished the incoming team the best of luck for the future.

“Can I just say thank-you to Niall Morrow and the team who have run Harper Ireland brilliantly over the course of the last year,” he said.

“It has been great to meet with them from time to time and hear about plans for the club and what has been going on.

“I would just like to wish David and the new committee all the best for the coming year. Let us hope Harper Ireland continues to go from strength-to-strength.”

During the evening, scholarships and awards were handed out, including the Victor Truesdale Award, which was presented to Jocelyn Orr, 21, from County Down.

The President’s Award was presented to Niamh Molloy, 21, from County Londonderry, and the Vice-President’s Award to new chairman, David Thornton.

A special trophy was also presented to current Student Union President, Kevin Broe, in recognition of his service as only the second president to be appointed from the Republic of Ireland.

Niall thanked the special guests who had spent the day touring the Harper Adams campus and learning about land-based qualifications at the university.

He then welcomed 19-year-old David to say a few words about his aspirations for the club. The BEng (Hons) Agricultural Engineering student from County Kildare said: “I would just like to start off by thanking Niall. I know it will be a hard act to follow for the next year.

“I would like to thank everybody in the club for voting me in. It means a lot. It’s an honour to be taking over from Niall. I will give 100 per cent to the club over the next year.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to give something back to the club. Going forward with the club I would like to bring something new to it and focus on new ideas.”

To round off the evening, Harper Adams in Ireland Secretary, Basil Bayne, said a few words about the alumni association and thanked guest speaker Mr McCarthy for attending the annual dinner.

“From a Harper Adams in Ireland perspective we note that it is 112 years since the first student from Ireland attended Harper Adams,” he said.

“It just shows how effective Harper Adams’ marketing was in those days that the first student from Ireland entered the doors three months after Harper Adams first opened.

“I would like to pay tribute to the Harper Ireland club and the officers of the club and thank them for their continued support of Harper Adams in Ireland.”

For more photographs, visit the Harper Adams Facebook page.

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