First Person: Maurice Trumper, OBE, farmer from Llanfair Kilgeddin
6:04pm Wednesday 8th January 2014 in News
Maurice Trumper (R) at 80 yrs old with grandaughter Louise Trumper at 2011 Usk Show with her prize rosettes won with British Saddleback pigs also in picture pig vet Bob Stevenson (L) (3136842)
Maurice Trumper, OBE, 82, a farmer based in Llanfair Kilgeddin near Usk, talks to CARYS THOMAS about his work with the NFU and growing up in war time.
"I was born and bred here. Its a beautiful part of the world I am very privileged to be so close to the river Usk.
It was a small farm that has developed over the years. We have always had pigs, sheep and cattle but the turkeys came later with my son Martyn - we run the farm in partnership now.
This has been a family farm all my life - my mother and father bought it before I was born. I have a sister Brigitte who now lives in Cornwall. She married a farmers son – she didn't stray too far from farming.
Its a wonderful experience to grow up on a farm. Children grow up with common sense ingrained by looking after animals and being careful around machinery.
They have the freedom to go about their life as youngsters free to roam, climb trees and cycle the roads without fear of anything.
We used to cycle to school. Three generations have gone there now to Llanfair Kilgeddin Primary School - that's where my grandchildren are.
My mother and father met when he was serving in the army in France in the First World War. My mother was French. Her name was Lydie. She was staying with her aunt who had a hotel in the South of France.
That's where she met my father Harold. He was wounded very badly in the war - he had part of his stomach shot out.
He was recuperating in the south of France in the late 20s in a hotel in Nice. They lived in France for a short time and then they bought this farm.
When they first came here there was no water or electricity. You can imagine what that was like for a Parisian.
We learnt a little French when we were younger but my mother got upset during the Second World War when her people were occupied. We spoke it less then.
It was very difficult for my father to do physical work around the farm but he had lots of energy. We had land girls and a few workers to help out during the war.
My father was drawing a calf one day when he pulled and something twinged in his stomach. It was miraculous – something in his stomach corrected itself and he spent the last 30 years quite normal.
He was a captain in the war with the King Shropshire Light Infantry. He signed up when they appealed for volunteers early on. I still have a cousin in France who I am in contact with.
I joined a farmers club in 1942 – the young farmers are still going today. It was the end of the Second World War and there weren't as many opportunities to go to university and things like there are now.
It was a social club but also a medium for agricultural education. We had lessons in learning hedging cutting and lectures in animal husbandry.
Through that I became Welsh chairman and National chairman. I took part in the NFU.
I went to Ghana and Nigeria with the Welsh Assembly and the UN. We stayed with various missionaries and went to schools talking about farming and teaching them about farming husbandry. In this time Ghana just had independence -it was a tremendous experience.
I went with British delegation and met lots of MPs. It was quite rewarding to see a different nation. I found it very nice – India’s gentle people.
There was one school where the children there all had an eye condition which made them blind. It was quite tremendous going and seeing how they live.
It was very heart rending to see the children.
I married Eileen in 1962, she was a farmers daughter. We met through the young farmers.
We got married in a church in Brecon - that's where she was from. We had two sons Martyn and Lyndon Trumper. Lyndon is a livestock auctioneer.
I have five grandchildren. They are starting to take an interest in farming with their little flock of sheep – their only in their early teens.
I have had a privileged life here – farming has its ups and down. And they can be very bad downs but the ups are extremely rewarding - to breed quality animals.
I was the Welsh chairman for the NFU. We used to go to London and have meetings with ministers. I was involved with Chernobyl about the contamination of fields.
North Wales were affected – farmers had to have their sheep tested. We negotiated payment for them. I enjoyed the negotiating part, its a nice mix the physical work and the more intellectual work.
I went to Brussels to the European Union. We’ve had a few frightening situations in recent years – foot and mouth and TB.
We have been free of TB for five years now, we lost 18 cattle. It hits you hard –its your livelihood.
My father's family are from Radnorshire on the border between Wales and England so we've always been farming folk. My grandfather used to have two votes in the election.
I was the church warden for St Mary the Virgin in Llanfair Kilgeddin for a number of years. I attended services as a child here.
It was a privileged role to have - to support the reverend at that time. It was a people's church - it's closed now.
The church was threatened with demolishment. It's a grade one listed building. We contacted Friends of the Friendless Churches, an organisation which now owns the church and helped repair the graffiti panels.
I was very pleased and very honoured to receive the John Gittins Memorial Award for my work in the Welsh sheep industry. It’s a national award for the farming industry - it's a great privilege.
It's on the dining room table at the moment not sure where we are going to put it yet.
It’s always busy around here really- I’m not going to retire any time soon. My family and the animals are my life."
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