Posted 10 March 2015
I have been able to gain a fascinating insight into sustainable agriculture and the challenges that face the world’s agricultural sector."
Two Harper Adams University postgraduate students are benefiting from a donation to the Harper Adams University Development Trust from the estate of a successful Warwickshire dairy farmer.
The Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust, which was established in memory of Elizabeth Creak, a former High Sheriff of Warwickshire who previously ran one of the county’s largest dairy farms, is sponsoring a series of student scholarships at Harper Adams.
Postgraduate students Claire Cianchi, from Herefordshire, and Rachel Glover, from Warwickshire, have each received a Clyde Higgs Scholarship, worth £4,500, named after Miss Creak’s uncle from whom she inherited the farming enterprise in 1963.
Rachel, 23, from Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire holds a BSc Environmental Conservation degree from Bangor University and is now working towards a Master in Sustainable Agriculture at Harper Adams.
She said: “The scholarship means a great deal as it has permitted me to undertake this Masters course and continue my academic studies. I have been able to gain a fascinating insight into sustainable agriculture and the challenges that face the world’s agricultural sector. I am really enjoying my course and am very grateful for the opportunity to study at Harper Adams, with the support of the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust.”
Rachel, who previously completed a voluntary placement with the National Trust, as an assistant ranger, added that she was very interested in the link between agricultural production and environmental conservation, and was keen to pursue a career in this area. “My career aspiration is to work in an advisory role, perhaps as an agricultural advisor or consultant,” she said.
Claire, 23, from Moccas, Herefordshire, is also working towards the MSc Sustainable Agriculture qualification at Harper Adams.
Claire, who holds an undergraduate degree in Ecology from the University of East Anglia, said: “The Clyde Higgs MSc Scholarship has allowed me to pursue a career in agriculture. The funding has been essential in financing my masters degree and has given me the freedom to make the most of all opportunities Harper Adams offers, not only academic, but also practical experiences, industry recognised qualifications and networking events. I’d like to thank the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust for making this possible.”
Prior to beginning her Masters, Claire worked for two years in the marketing department of a manufacturing company, specialising in sustainability. She said: “For the past ten years I have been volunteering on a neighbouring farm, from which my love of agriculture has come. After spending all my spare time and holidays on the farm, I decided to work towards a career in agriculture as this is where my passions lie.
“My long term ambition would be to have a farm of my own. However, in my career I would like to use the knowledge I have gained from both my undergraduate degree and my masters to help improve the sustainability of the UK agricultural industry. There is a noticeable divide between those who create farming legislation and those who have to follow it, with neither side understanding where the other is coming from. Having studied agriculture from both and environmental and farming perspective I understand the challenges and aim to be in a position within my career where I can help facilitate more open communication and discussion between farmers and policy makers, to improve the future of the farming industry.”
Elizabeth Creak, born in 1926, graduated from McGill University in Montreal and worked for Allen Lane of Penguin Publishers before returning to England to work with her uncle, eventually becoming his successor. She passed away in October 2013 and left the bulk of her estate to the Elizabeth Creak Charitable Trust, to provide scholarships in her uncle’s name and to “support and encourage new blood in farming and finance projects to help farmers survive and thrive in their challenging modern environment”.