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karensheathmurphyploughingmatchThis year’s Memorial Ploughing Match at New Wolverton Farm, Shorwell on Sunday 12th April promises to be the largest and most keenly competed yet.

Now in its seventh year, the popular event will feature ploughman from on and off the Island who will be challenging for a record number of trophies.

The event was started seven years ago by Karen Sheath in memory of four well-known Island tractor ploughmen – Stephen Hayles, John Attrill, Derek Young and Den Phillips – who all passed away in 2008.

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Money raised will be given to local charities with the Earl Mountbatten Hospice once again being the main beneficiary.

Karen explained:

“The idea of a ploughing match was originally to remember Steve, but the passing away of three further ploughmen led us to create an event to remember them all.

It is sad, but each year someone whom we have known and loved seems to benefit from the care at the Hospice, and it is so important to continue supporting this great facility of which the Island should be proud”.

ploughing-match4Though the event was started to remember the four tractor ploughman, an important factor in its growing popularity has been the increasing involvement of heavy horse ploughing since 2011. Not only has the Memorial Ploughing Match become one of the leading events in the Island’s countryside calendar, it is now one of the largest heavy horse ploughing matches in the South of England.

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This year’s event, sponsored by Red Funnel, will also feature a new cup – the Dave Kissick Memorial Trophy for the Best opening by an IW Ploughman. Mr Kissick won the IW Ploughing Match in 1955 and was a keen competitor and supporter of ploughing matches for many more years. Other well-known Island residents after whom memorial trophies are named include Brickfields owner Phil Legge and TV personality Geoff Hughes, a great supporter of the event.

Karen continued:

“It is always a sad moment to receive another cup but then we also have to remember that this is a way to remember people.  Each year relatives and friends meet together at the ploughing match, and I think this is what makes the event unique.  You hear stories being swapped as they remember such great characters from the local countryside.”

Katie Radburn, Corporate and Major Donor Fundraiser, said:

“The memorial ploughing match is not only a great way to remember some of the Island’s great characters, it is also a way of bringing to the fore some of the great skills that are needed to work the land and to contribute to the fabric of Island life.

We are delighted that this wonderful event has chosen to support Earl Mountbatten Hospice. This support makes a great contribution to our work in providing care for people with life limiting illnesses.”

Admission to the event is free and the event is to be held between 09:30 and 16:30. Refreshments are available.

Photographed: Murphy, aged 7 and 18.2 hands with Karen Sheath, Event Organiser

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