Nightcaps Young Farmers’ life member prepares to mark 500th meeting

Posted by on 30 January 2019 | Comments

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It’s been 40 years since Southland log truck driver Pam Bennett began her long association with Nightcaps Young Farmers.

She joined the club when she was 15.

“I signed up when I was working at Wether Hill Station out the back of Ohai,” said the 55-year-old who lives at Manapouri.

“We used to hold our meetings in the old railway building at Nightcaps, before relocating to the Wreys Bush Hall.”

Pam Bennett.The former champion shearer and wool handler was later elected the club’s chair.

“When I took over, the club only had five members,” she recalls. “We launched a membership drive and grew the club to 25 members within 12 months.”

Nightcaps is now one of the country’s oldest NZ Young Farmers clubs and will hold its 500th meeting on February 9th.

To mark the occasion a special meeting and dinner is being held at the Nightcaps Town Hall.

All current and former members, and general supporters of the club, are invited.

“I made a lot of friends through my involvement in Nightcaps Young Farmers,” said Pam, who is the club’s only life member.

“I’ve kept in touch with some of them, but a lot of former members have moved away.”

“I’m really looking forward to the reunion, it will be great to catch up with everyone,” she said.

Pam still vividly recalls the ways the active club used to raise funds.

“We used to make $500 penning up sheep for shearers competing at the Southland A&P Show,” she said.

“The club made a similar amount helping at the Opio Dog Trials. We’d also tail and crutch lambs.”

“I remember we used to split a heap of firewood and cart it to Queenstown to sell,” she said.

The club had a regular exchange with the NZ Young Farmers club in Te Kuiti in the King Country.

“We’d travel up and have a good look around other people’s farms. It was a great way to see another part of the world,” she said.

The club’s members got involved in debating, which Pam said made her nervous because she was worried she might swear, which she “was good at”.

The Nightcaps Town Hall has seating capacity for about 230 people and organisers are hoping for a strong turnout for the milestone meeting.

Anyone with club memorabilia can contact Justin on 027 773 4139 or email nightcapsyfc@hotmail.com

Tickets for the event, which includes dinner, supper and a live band, are $55 per person and can be purchased through the Nightcaps Young Farmers Facebook page.