NPA stalwarts awarded lifetime Fellowships

Two industry stalwarts who have made huge contributions to the organisation over the past two decades have been awarded NPA Lifetime Fellowships.

Former chairman Richard Longthorp and the current chair of the NPA Allied Industry Group (AIG), Hugh Crabtree, received their honours from NPA chairman Richard Lister at an event to celebrate the association’s 20th anniversary in Warwickshire on Tuesday.

They become the fourth and and fifth distinguished industry servants to be honoured as NPA Lifetime Fellows, joining former chair John Godfrey, former chair and executive director Stewart Houston and ‘voice of the pig industry’ Digby Scott in a very select group.

Mr Lister described the NPA’s latest Fellows, honoured for their ‘sustained contribution to the NPA and UK pig industry’, as ‘fantastic stalwarts’.

Mr Crabtree was the AIG’s first chairman and has chaired the group on and off for the past 20 years as well as being a valued member of the board.

Mr Lister described how Mr Crabtree, a former Chris Brant Award winner, came to prominence when he organised the Winnie the Pig protest outside Parliament in 2000, coordinating 190 12-hour shifts. Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell described it as ‘the best political protest he had ever seen’, Mr Lister said.

“We have benefited from Hugh’s huge experience,” he said. “He has always been someone who has seen the bigger picture. He has given his heart and soul to the association and for that reason he has been awarded a Lifetime Fellowship.”

Hugh said: “I am very honoured to be in this rather small but very august body. It was completely unexpected and it means a lot to me. It’s not usual for me to be speechless but I was this time!”

Mr Lister said Richard Longthorp’s name had become synonymous with the NPA. “They say if you want something doing, ask a busy man,” he said before outlining the Yorkshire farmer’s many roles over the years, including three stints as NPA chair, a BPEX board member for many years and roles on various bodies encouraging people to train and take up careers in agriculture. A former winner of the David Black and Chris Brant Awards, Richard was awarded an OBE in 2011 for services to the farming industry.

“Richard in many way represents the true embodiment of the value of the NPA – the selfless attitude to work for the industry. He has graduated from the bonnet surfing pig protestor of his youth to the considered listening, incredibly hard working person today who retains that raw passion for the pig industry,” Richard said.

Mr Longthorp said he was honoured to be recognised by the NPA. “It is humbling because the boot is usually on the other foot when I present the Chris Brant Award, but I am very honoured indeed,” he said.

They both paid tribute to the vital role the NPA continues to play today, under the leadership of chief executive Zoe Davies.

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Editor of LBM titles Pig World and Farm Business and group editor of Agronomist and Arable Farmer. National Pig Association's webmaster. Previously political editor at Farmers Guardian for many years and also worked Farmers Weekly. Occasional farming media pundit. Brought up on a Leicestershire farm, now work from a shed in the garden in Oxfordshire. Big fan of Leicester City and Leicester Tigers. Occasional cricketer.