John Chesters should be recognised for his immense contribution and dedication to agriculture and rural life in Shropshire.
John is well known and respected by old and young for his tireless work with Nesscliffe YFC as an advisory member with particular interest in the financial health and prosperity of the club. He has helped successive young treasurers to present accounts and ensure Charity Commission returns are correctly filed.
Perhaps less well known, is the contribution that John made to Shropshire Rural Support and an annual event known as Crucial Crew. Both roles were largely unseen and went un-thanked by many local people but had the potential to save and improve lives.
As a trustee of Shropshire Rural Support, John was both a key fund raiser and guiding authority in the confidential work of the charity. Although Shropshire Rural Support works closely with the Farm Crisis Network, the decision to maintain an independent charity to address rural stress and misfortune requires people like John to quietly and carefully guide advisers and staff, as well as maintain the awareness of others to the availability of help. Others will have greater knowledge of John’s contribution and I would wish to whole heartedly support their submission in respect of this work.
I am particularly aware of John’s fantastic work to improve farm safety awareness through the Crucial Crew event held at MOD Nesscliffe each year. The event comprises a number of scenes depicting potential hazards that school children may encounter in their daily lives. Scenarios such as substance abuse, domestic fires, building sites and farms are created to raise awareness of dangerous circumstances that could cause injury and to promote avoidance. John delivered the farm based element over the two week annual event for countless years, and has co-ordinated the whole of the agricultural scene for at least the last five years. The thousands of children that John has engaged in this way will probably never fully appreciate the life skills that they have learned but I am sure that John would feel that if only one young life is saved, then his efforts would have been entirely justified. John was also be aware that, through children, parents can learn lessons that will encourage improved health and safety on farms. This really is crucial work in a rural county such as Shropshire.
I am sure that others will have their own memories and will wish to send their condolences to Helen.
Simon Latter – Shropshire Rural Support Chair – April 18th 2017