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Mark is aiming for fifth victory.

Expectations are running high among the young farmers of Whitley Chapel.

Not only did the club, which draws its membership from the moors above Haltwhistle, host the annual rally last year, but they emerged as champions as well.

In total, it has won the last four rallies in a row, and leading the Chapel's charge this year is Mark Reed.

The 21-year-old from Renny's Barn, near Slaley, is confident they'll give the competition a good run for its money.

"We have a very close-knit, strong club, where our members get on extremely well with one-another," says Mark.

"There's a tremendous amount of support for Young Farmers here, and I think that comes across in just how well the club has done in recent years."

That spirit also comes to the fore in Whitley Chapel's charitable endeavours, and members raise funds for good causes the year round.

Main recipients this year include the Northumberland National Park Search and Rescue Team and the Great North Air Ambulance.

Both, says Mark, are vital to people living in the rural community.

"We've been fortunate enough not to require the services of the rescue team or the air ambulance, but we know quite a few people in the community who have," he says.

"They do an excellent job, and that's one of the main reasons we're trying to raise as much money as we can to support them."

A round of carol singing at Christmas netted a record pounds 782 for the charity box, while a murder mystery weekend at Whitley Chapel added a further pounds 320.

The club also enjoys a thriving social scene, either at the local Tynedale pubs or on organised trips out and team games. "We do a lot of different things," adds Mark, who joined YF aged 18.

"Ten pin bowling and trips to the cinema happen quite often, and we take part in paint balling and clay pigeon shooting.

"When I became chairman at Whitley Chapel, my main goal was to make sure everyone had as much fun and enjoyment out of Young Farmers as possible.

"That's what really matters."

And looking towards the rally on June 2, which takes place at Easington Farm near Belford, there's plenty of scope for laughs.

"Alnwick has chosen an excellent theme for this year's rally, being Disney films," says Mark.

"We've been given Winnie The Pooh, so it should be real fun getting some of our members to appear as Tigger, Piglet and Eeyore."

But he warns the other 10 clubs also attending: "You might be laughing, but we're still serious about winning the rally again this year."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Mar 17, 2007
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