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I’m Hefin Bennett. I was born in 1932 and I’m a farmer by profession. I joined the YFC in, I think, 1951. It was about the only thing that we could join, living in the country. I be living about 4 miles by road from Llangurig, where the Young Farmer’s Club was.  And in those days it was either walking, bicycle or a tractor. I can recall many times in the winter, my friend who was on the next farm. We had a Ferguson tractor, no lights, no cab, and he held a torch and we just drove and parked by the main road, by the river. Main reason for that being, that if it was frosty weather, we had to drain the water out and refill again on the way back.  Being a member of the YFC was a great experience, a movement to who I am greatly indebted.  We learnt a lot and it made a great impact on the area such as Llangurig. The young farmer’s movement at one time was considered a good marriage bureau. It was once said of Llangurig and I think it was very true, that all they needed really was a permanent registrar and that’s where a lot of us found our wives and indeed I was one of those that married a local girl through contact to the YFC.



Evacuees came to this area from Liverpool and Birkenhead and they would come by train from Birkenhead or Liverpool to the station here in Llanidloes.  Some of these children remained in the area for a considerable period. Some of them even didn’t go back and I often think what a wrench it was, you know, coming from city life to a very rural area. No mod cons. Most of them on farms and the language.  In this area then, the majority of the farming community were Welsh speaking and they went to Welsh homes and they soon picked up the language.  And some of them became virtually fluent in the language before they went back.



I attended a very local school. I think we were at the most about 30 at the most in school. Two-teacher school, two classrooms. No modern canteens in those days. We took our lunch with us in our satchels and then in the very late 40’s the canteens came, which was a great luxury then. The school was a central point to a community then. We depended so much on the schools where you had a head teacher and possibly a teacher to be sort of leaders in the community and they made a valid contribution. They set up drama groups and became attached to the chapels and it was an age that we made our own entertainment, we had no TV.Elections were big things in those days. I was old enough that I realised in 1945 what an election was and every candidate came to every hamlet and village and crowds got there and it was a thing that you looked forward to.



Farmers went through a very very lean time in the 1930s and then later on in the 30s and early 40s they bought these hill farms and eventually they planted them with sucrose and larch and of course, what was left was barely a few fields. People had to move out. Houses became derelict. We lost a lot of the rural population. Though the forestry did provide a lot of local labour at that particular time, but as time got on, and mechanisation and machines came in and private contractors from away and staff came down to virtually nothing. It had a drastic effect on agriculture.


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