Joan Bomford at Moyfield Riding School in the 1970s
Picture: Julie-Ann Fleming
The BHS sends huge congratulations to 82-year-old Joan Bomford of Moyfield Riding School in Worcestershire after she was named BBC Countryfile’s 2015 Farming Hero.
Nominated for the award by one of her four children, Colin, Joan has been farming since the 1930s – when she was just eight years old. To this day, she plays a highly active role in looking after land, livestock and 70 horses.
Known widely in her area for her inspiring and generous nature, Joan has taken part in a huge amount of charity work in the last fifty years, including teaching disabled riders and running charity gymkhanas and local shows.
Despite not being tall enough to see over a round bale, Joan is described by Colin as ‘over ten feet tall’ to her family and all who know her – and it’s easy to see why.
“It’s such a waste of life to sit around and do nothing,” she told the judges when they visited her farm, friends and family. “We’re only given one chance, so make the most of it.”
Moyfield supporter Julie-Ann Fleming, whose first job was at the school, summed up many people’s sentiments, saying: “As a girl in the late 1960s I moved onto Moyfield Riding School from a big family in the middle of town and soon found out what life was really about. She taught us girls so much that now in my late 50s I have a lot to thank her for.”
Against about 800 other nominees, Joan beat strong competition to take this year’s Countryfile title, with her fellow two finalists also having highly emotive and inspirational tales behind them.
Moyfield is a BHS-Approved riding centre, livery yard and trekking centre in Worcestershire, and was first Approved an impressive 45 years ago. In that time, Joan has taught over 2,000 people to ride, and many have taken to the BHS Facebook page to share their happy memories of their time with her. Visit facebook.com/thebritishhorsesociety to read their comments.