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Margaret celebrates 65 amazing years of life on a Goole farm


At a time when most people are drawing their pensions, 78 year-old Margaret Aldam is celebrating a milestone achievement, having worked at The Co-operatives farm in Goole for an amazing 65 years this spring.

Margaret, from Goole, has been honoured for her loyalty and hard work for The Co-operative Farms, with a long-service award. Managing Director of The Co-operative Farms, Christine Tacon, presented her with the award at a ceremony that saw her share many precious memories of her childhood growing up on the Yorkshire farm.

Margaret first moved to the farm at the age of six months, when a weekend stay with her grandparents who lived on the farm, turned into a more permanent arrangement. She describes her childhood as idyllic and says there was a great sense of camaraderie and companionship on the farm, as people worked the land on horses and tractors.

Margaret began working at the Goole farm in 1946, shortly after the end of World War II. At the time over half of all national food supplies were being produced at home (rather than being imported), and the country was still experiencing flour rationing. Margaret remembers children being evacuated to live in the nearby countryside during the war, and even recalls a German soldier parachuting onto the farmland.

Whilst women had kept the farming industry afloat during the war, as part of the Womens Land Army, by 1946 when Margaret decided to take up farming, women choosing careers in agriculture were once again becoming a minority.

In spite of this, Margaret developed a strong interest in farming as a result of watching her grandfather at work. He was the foreman of

The Co-operatives Goole farm, and inspired her to work on the land. Meanwhile, her grandmother baked bread on a daily basis and cooked huge pots of stew to sustain the 11 people living with them, who worked alongside Margaret in the fields.

Margarets grandfather originally wanted her to become a teacher and although she passed all of her teaching exams she decided against this career in favour of continuing the family tradition of working at The Co-operatives farm in Goole.

Speaking of her passion for farming, she says: My grandfather tried to discourage me from joining the farming industry by giving me the worst jobs to do on the farm, but the more mucky the job the more I enjoyed it and wanted to take up farming full time.

He didnt think farming was a suitable job for a woman and felt that I should become a teacher. But I loved life on the farm and working on the land. Im really proud to be celebrating 65 years of working at The Co-operatives farm in Goole, and I wouldnt change a thing about my career. I think I have been very lucky.

The Goole farm, on which Margaret works, grows: potatoes, vining peas, wheat, oilseed rape, beetroot and sugar beet. It also produces honey.

The Co-operative has farmed the Goole farm since 1917 and it is also one of seven farms, owned or managed by The Co-operative Farms, that hosts the award-winning outdoor learning experience, From Farm to Fork, which teaches primary school children about farming and the countryside.

About The Co-operative Group

  • From Farm to Fork is an award-winning outdoor learning experience, which teaches primary school children about where their food comes from, and aims to inspire them to get passionate about food. It is part of The Co-operative Green Schools programme, which aims to raise young people’s awareness of the environment through hands-on learning. The Co-operative Green Schools has already supported more than 100,000 young people.
  • The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business, which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of 14 billion, and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets handling more than 20 million weekly transactions.

  • Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.
  • The Co-operative is the UKs number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually
  • Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical and The Co-operative Legal Services.  

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