FUW stalwart Meurig Voyle recalls 50 years service to welsh farming
The life and times of Farmers' Union of Wales stalwart Meurig Voyle - who began working for the union in Carmarthenshire over 50 years ago before retiring as its Denbighshire county executive officer in 1990 - were recounted recently at a special event in his honour.
Denbigh Rugby Club was packed out by members and friends as S4C's Ffermio programme's former presenter Sulwyn Thomas compered the evening which featured a talk by 88-year-old Mr Voyle who continues to cut a familiar figure greeting visitors to the FUW's pavilion alongside the main ring at the Royal Welsh Show.
FUW life member Mr Voyle has performed the task for 47 years in his capacity as caretaker of the union's pavilion, and previously its marquee stand, at the show.
As a young newspaper reporter in Carmarthen, Mr Thomas recalled first meeting Mr Voyle in 1961. "Meurig was the FUW's assistant county secretary for Carmarthenshire and always had a good story to tell which invariably made the news columns.
"Reporters are a cynical bunch. We look at people very clinically but when we come across a gem like Meurig Voyle we put a tick in the box," Mr Thomas added.
He recalled the active part Mr Voyle, a native of Llanddarog, near Carmarthen, played in a campaign in 1964 when farmers and villagers at neighbouring Llangendeirne refused to allow a survey of a site for a proposed reservoir.
Mr Voyle was appointed FUW's Denbighshire county secretary in 1966 after being assistant county secretary in Carmarthenshire for five years.
He soon discovered reporters had been invited to attend meetings of Denbighshire county executive committee since December 1960 but great difficulty was experienced in having FUW reports included in the local press.
"However, the problem was resolved when I suggested to the editors that union members might boycott their newspapers," he revealed.
Looking to the future, Mr Voyle said the young farmers in the audience needed to keep the FUW going because of the sacrifice so many members had made in the past to ensure its continued survival.
"They all deserve our respect," he added.
FUW president Emyr Jones said it was good to see the clubhouse full for the event which also raised funds towards the union's sponsorship of the Crown at next year's National Eisteddfod in Denbighshire.
"I would like to thank Meurig for his services and all the good things he has done to fly the flag for the union," Mr Jones added.
In a vote of thanks, the union's Denbighshire county chairman Iwan Jones said: "It is now up to us to keep the union going in the same way as Mr Voyle did."
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