More than 3,500 people crowded into the grounds of Whirlow Hall Farm at the weekend for its popular farm fair, the biggest event on its fundraising calendar.
The farm is celebrating its 35th birthday this year and holds a special place in the hearts of many Sheffielders as just about every schoolchild in the city will have been on residential courses there over the years.
Whirlow Hall Farm is a working farm covering 138 acres with livestock including a flock of about 189 sheep that produce about 300 lambs ever year, a pig-rearing unit, a mixed herd of beef cows and about 300 free-range hens kept for egg laying, plus seasonally-reared turkeys.
Other animals that live on the farm include horses, ponies, goats, rabbits and guinea pigs.
Seasonal vegetables and soft fruit are grown in the farm’s fields and horticultural areas.
The farm was set up as an educational trust in 1979 by Sheffielder Alan Aikin, who grew up in the inner city and was sent to a farm as an evacuee during the Second World War.
Those experiences had such a big effect on the young Alan that he decided to set up a centre for all inner-city children to get a taste of life in the countryside and develop their understanding of farming and where their food comes from.
The trust’s classroom in the countryside still plays host to more than 10,000 children and young people a year, many of them from disadvantaged backgrounds and the inner city.
The farm’s website says: “For many of our young visitors this is the first time that they will have visited a farm or the countryside.
“By holding a newly-hatched chick, bottle feeding a new-born lamb or simply seeing a pig with her piglets for the first time they are having an unforgettable experience.”
A lot of work goes into fundraising during the year and the next event will be a Beer & Bangers comedy night on Saturday, October 4
The event will be set in a barn at the farm and will star Sheffield comedian Tom Wrigglesworth, Smug Roberts and Martin Morbut.
The line-up has been put together by the Last Laugh Comedy Club. The evening, which will run from 7pm to late, will also feature real ales from Abbeydale Brewery and a barbecue using farm products.
For tickets, go online to Whirlow Hall Farm