Local turkey farmer crowned Britain’s Fittest Female Farmer over 40

31st October

Vines Cross turkey farmer Lucy Sheffield has been named one of Britain’s Fittest Farmers 2022.

Lucy of Foords Farm travelled to Essex to take part in the Farmers Weekly’s run Britain’s Fittest Farmer competition. The competition is held yearly to help raise awareness of physical and mental health within the farming industry. 

This year Farmers Weekly introduced a new over 40s ‘masters’ category. Having qualified in June at the semi-finals at Adam Henson of Countryfile’s farm in the Cotswolds, Lucy made the trip to ‘Farm Fitness’ in Essex knowing that she really was going to have to put some hard graft in against tough competition. With four events throughout the day testing, power, strength, endurance and speed, Lucy came joint top. She was crowned ‘Britain’s Fittest Female Farmer (over 40), bringing the accolade back to Foords Farm along with a £500 prize.

Lucy is donating £100 of her prize money to St Wilfred’s Hospice and will spend the rest on something gym-related such as new trainers and equipment. This year the farm will also be supporting St Wilfred’s Hospice, Eastbourne, with customers being encouraged to make a donation when they collect their turkeys.

Lucy, 44, spent 20 years “off farm” working in different industries before returning full-time to the family farm two years ago, and is now a partner in the mixed arable and poultry business.

“I love the hour or two I spend training each day,” says Lucy. “You get so focused on what you are doing that, in that moment, there is no time to think about anything else. Some may see this as selfish, but I see it as enabling me to also give more effort and commitment to all the other areas of my life. I always say I train for my brain, and the effect it has on my body is an added bonus.

“Being strong in body (and mind) certainly does help around the farm. When you have a feed delivery of eight tonnes of turkey feed that needs to be bagged up in 50kg sacks and then carried to the barns for the turkey feed bins, the muscles tend to get a work out!  Functional fitness really does appear in everyday life on the farm – hulking straw bales around for bedding and hay for feed for the horse. The stronger you are the quicker you can get the job done! It’s like a challenge daily – a good one, how lucky, right?”

Britain’s Fittest Farmer was launched by Farmers Weekly as a fun way of sparking a vital discussion about the physical and mental health of the nation’s farmers.

As farming becomes less active and more mechanised and office-based, it’s more important than ever before to make sure Britain’s farmers are getting the exercise that they need to stay fit and healthy.

Nestled in the Weald countryside J&R Sheffield has been producing Christmas turkeys for the seasonal market at Foords Farm since 1950.

The farm is currently run by Jim Sheffield alongside his daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren, and was originally brought by Jim’s father and mother, Jack and Rita Sheffield (hence J&R Sheffield). The farm was originally run as a mixed farm. Following the end of the Second World War with food being more widely available and families having more money in their pocket, Jack and Rita started to produce turkeys for the festive table.

The entire flock is slow grown over a period of 6 months which allows for full maturity, establishing a good layer of fat for each bird leading to a happy and contented flock. All of which contribute to a traditional and delicious Christmas centre piece.

You can order your fresh turkey here.