For the first time ever, two gamekeeping students have tied for top place in the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy, sponsored by Musto. This prestigious award goes to the best full- or part-time gamekeeping student or apprentice of the academic year. In the view of the judges the joint-winners, Ryan Mort, 21, and Tom Hesmondhalgh, 19, – who had respectively attended Askham Bryan College, North Yorkshire and Newton Rigg College, Cumbria – were “exceptional candidates”. Newton Rigg has been part of Askham Bryan College since 2011.
Brian Mitchell, a National Vice-chairman of the NGO and one of its five founder members, made the presentations to the winners on Saturday 19 September 2015 on the NGO stand at the Midland Game &, Country Fair, Weston Park, Shropshire.
The Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy, sponsored by Musto, is judged annually by senior members of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation, with the award going to the best full- or part-time gamekeeping student or apprentice of the academic year. The late Frank Jenkins was a well-known gamekeeper whose career spanned more than 60 years.
Co-winner, Tom Hesmondhalgh, from near York, who studied on a Level 3 Countryside Management (Game) course full-time at Newton Rigg College, said: “I’m really chuffed to have won the Frank Jenkins. It’s a tremendous honour. Mum and dad are delighted, too. So is my old headkeeper, Tony Rankin, from the Yorkshire shoot where I first started helping out at weekends when I was around nine years old. I loved keepering from day one. I’ve never looked back.”
Tom added: “College made me mature and grow up. I also think college training is essential nowadays for young keepers with all the complex law and legislation. I’ve now finished at college and landed on my feet with a job as a beatkeeper on an estate near Pickering in Yorkshire. I’m really enjoying it. I’d like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Co-winner, Ryan Mort, from Tadcaster, who was a full-time student on an Extended Diploma course in Countryside and Gamekeeping at Askham Bryan College, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to put the award on my CV. I’m absolutely beside myself and humbled to have won. So thank you to everyone involved. My dad and brother are keepers, and I live and breathe everything about keepering. In fact I’ve wanted to be a keeper since I was a lad.”
Ryan said: “Going to college changes your mindset. It focuses your thinking towards modern keepering, and the qualification is, I think, pretty essential for employment today. I’m working on a farm at the moment and beating full time this winter. My CV is going out in February when the keepers’ jobs get advertised. I can hardly wait.”
Malcolm Riding, the Head of the Game Department at Newton Rigg College who runs the course Tom took, said: “Tom was an exemplary student in terms of attendance and getting assignments in on time. He promoted the college at various events and was a major influence on our college shoot organised by second year students. However, the main reason he deserves the award is his positive attitude. Tom always has a smile on his face and takes a very positive approach to everything.”
Brian Sweeney, Course Manager for Level 3 Gamekeeping and Countryside at Askham Bryan College, said: “Ryan was not only a very good student academically but also a very good practical gamekeeper. He contributed a lot to the course in general, such as helping out with open days. He also worked with the RSPB on the Sky Dancer Project, helping to project the crucial, positive role, gamekeeping makes to upland management. ”
Emmie Brown, Musto Country Marketing Manager, said: "Musto is delighted to support the NGO again for 2015. Offering support to young gamekeeepers, and other up and coming prospects in the countryside, is something Musto is very proud to be a part of. This year, as there are two joint winners of the NGO Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy, we are delighted to be able to give both young keepers a complete tweed outfit of jacket, waistcoat and breeks and with country shirts from our new Autumn Winter 2015 Collection, to help keep them warm, dry and comfortable as they move onto the next stages in their careers.”
Frank Jenkins' daughter and son (Mr Jenkins' son is a gamekeeper member of the NGO) kindly presented both winners with a gift to mark the occasion. Each young keeper also received an engraved tankard from the NGO National Committee.
Brian Mitchell, a National Vice-chairman of the NGO and one of its five founder members, who made the presentations, said: “I’d like to send the biggest of congratulations to both of these young men on jointly winning this year’s Frank Jenkins Memorial Trophy. It is the first time the award has not been won outright. In the view of the judges, both these young men were exceptional candidates with a love of keepering running through their veins and deserved to share victory. It would have been a disservice to either of them to come second. They are bright hopes for the keepering world and I wish them every good fortune in the future.”
Mr Mitchell added: “I’d also like to thank Musto, our sponsor, for its great generosity in effectively doubling the sponsorship this year, by kindly making available two shooting suits and accessories, when it was decided that the Frank Jenkins Trophy was to be awarded jointly.”
Notes to Editors
Askham Bryan College is the largest and fastest-growing agricultural and horticultural college in the UK with 3,900 students and 11 sites across Northern England. It offers full- and part-time further and higher education courses, including agriculture, horticulture, forestry and arboriculture, countryside management, gamekeeping, sport, engineering, equine and animal management. The College's main campus is in York plus 10 sites across Northern England of varying sizes including Guisborough, Hexham, Leeds, Newcastle, Bradford, Scarborough, Middlesbrough, Wakefield, Thirsk and Newton Rigg College at Penrith.
In 2013, the Askham Bryan College announced a £34 million campus development of its York site. The scheme includes building a new Wildlife Park, equine facilities, student residential accommodation and dedicated Higher Education Teaching Centre. www.askham-bryan.ac.uk
Newton Rigg College offers full- and part-time further education courses, including agriculture, horticulture, forestry, countryside management, sport, engineering, public services, equine, child care, gamekeeping and animal management. The College also has a range of apprenticeship courses. There are around 800 students.
Newton Rigg became part of Yorkshire-based Askham Bryan College in 2011. A £3m investment plan, announced in 2012, is underway to transform the Newton Rigg campus, by updating existing buildings and providing state of the art facilities for students. www.newtonrigg.ac.uk
Photo (l-r): Ryan Mort and Tom Hesmondhalgh with Tess and Tilly.