We’re sorry you feel you have to do this. When we first arrived at Yorkley Court Farm you came to visit us with the neighbours. Twice. Brought us some cheap booze and a trailer load of supplies.
We were told not to trust you but most of us are “not from round here” so we thought, “well maybe he’s not so bad, ok he’s had a checkered past but maybe he wants to make amends, he’s not getting any younger – perhaps he’s thinking about his legacy”. We’d only known you from the Wilderness Centre, fundraising for the Friends of the Wilderness as part of their steering group. Alright, you still wanted to own it, but at least it would stay as an environmental education centre, perhaps.
We were surprised to see you so quickly after we arrived. What we were doing was pretty odd – why would you want to be associating with us?
You helped a neighbour put in the new gate. We asked your nephew who drove the digger that day, “So what’s Brian’s interest in all this then?” He just shrugged and said “He likes a fight”. After that your digger sat on the farm for several months (We hope you don’t mind that we borrowed it from time to time) until your guys came and took it back. We heard nothing more from you and after a year or so Jacky Guest told us that you weren’t interested in Yorkley Court Farm anymore. We thought about writing to you to see if you were still interested in helping us. We wondered if you’d lease the land opposite the school to us for a growing project with the school.
But it was too much to deal with the land agent and solicitor who claimed to own the land on the one hand, and the District Council Planning Department on the other, with Police Inspector Dick Boyles meddling in between. All the while trying to build a livelihood for ourselves from scratch around these nissen huts in a forgotten boggy woodland.
Little did we know you were biding your time, letting us carry on so you could use us as a “market risk” to put pressure on Tolson the solicitor and get the land on the cheap. When we realised what you were up to we had to laugh. We realised why people kept saying to us that we were working for you.
Who knows how long you and Jacky might have been scheming your way into Yorkley Court Farm, but there you are.
Now you have to ask yourself; is it worth it?
We just wanted to protect the land for the local community, to create a community farm for the Forest that we could be part of.
Through this journey we hope we have won the respect and trust of the local people.
If you get your way, we may lose our home but we won’t have lost our friends.
How about you?
From the Yorkley Court Farmers