Who are we?

  • A team of farmers, clergy and Agricultural specialists

  • A mixture of full time, part time and volunteers

  • An honorary solicitor specialising in Agricultural Law and Business Succession planning

  • An honorary financial adviser

Our team are either from a farming background or have a great understanding of the industry. We don’t judge anyone and we won’t turn anyone away.

We are proud of the work we do. In the years we have been providing support to farmers no farmer has gone on to harm themselves. 

 

Historically we have worked with people who have been extremely depressed and felt there is no solution to their situations. We have been able to provide the help and support they desperately needed.

Meet the Team

Sharon - Lead Chaplain

Hi!  My name is Sharon Mayer and I am lucky enough to live and work on the most beautiful farm in Cheshire – Toft Hall near Knutsford. I arrived here in 1977 straight after A levels,  a green townie who longed to study agriculture and later tropical agriculture at Nottingham university but needed a year’s practical experience first.  In typical fairytale manner I fell in love with and married the farmer’s son and after completing the initial degree, married Simon in 1980. We have 4 children, 3 sons and a daughter, all of whom have chosen to follow different career paths leaving me to take on the farm tenancy when Simon sadly died from pancreatic cancer in February 2006 aged just 53.

Ros - Development Manager

Ros was born and brought up on a sheep, beef, dairy and arable farm in Herefordshire where her family still farm and she still visits regularly with her children. Ros left school and started working for a land agent in Herefordshire and was very involved in working and running of livestock markets in Ledbury, Ross-on-Wye and South Wales which she thoroughly enjoyed, as well as assisting Land Agents with their workloads.
Ros developed her skills and became an expert in Milk Quota Trading from 1995 dealing with numerous Dairy Farmers all over the UK. Ros set up an office in Cheshire in 1998 trading Milk Quota and after developing it into a new firm of Land Agents became an owner of the business in 2004, unfortunately due to personal circumstances she had to exit the successful business in 2015.  Ros was involved in developing all aspects of the business from all elements of book keeping; staff management; business development; completing BPS forms; organising and presenting at seminars and attending shows.  Ros’s exceptional organisational skills have given a good basis for helping and assisting others in taking their businesses forward.  
Ros has a strong interest in mental health in general, but especially in the countryside and has completed her training in Level 2 Listening and Counselling Skills. Ros has a passion for working for and helping the farming community.

Graham - Solicitor

Graham is a practising solicitor concentrating on agricultural work; he enjoys working closely with clients who operate in the farming and rural sector. Graham advises clients across Cheshire, North Wales and beyond on a wide range of matters relating to agricultural land, agricultural tenancies, succession issues, partnerships, sporting rights and development work,.  Graham, who qualified in 1986, is a fellow of the Agricultural Law Association, an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the honorary solicitor to the Cheshire Agricultural Society as well as the honorary legal officer to the Agricultural Chaplaincy.

Peter - Listener

Peter, a retired Anglican Vicar, worked in the counties of Derbyshire, Lancashire, Cheshire.
Involved with  8 different churches. Large town, small town and country.
Experience with many groups of people as an Army, Hospital, and Prison chaplain.
Peter served as RECTOR of Wilmslow for 22 years before moving to 2 very rural villages.
Was very involved at the Foot and Mouth crisis. Very concerned about the agricultural communities.
Knew many farmers and had many farming friends.

Karen - Dairy Farmer

In 2009 I married Tom the Dairy Farmer & changed my career path to work at home as Toms right-hand woman, milking cows, rearing calves & managing the business.
This is probably one of my best career decisions.

John - Dairy Farmer

​I was born in 1948 in Unsworth Lancashire to a farming family went to Cof E primary and secondry modern  attended  sunday school at local Methodist church. Moved to Farndon Cheshire  in 1965 age 16 to a dairy farm  joined the young farmers  and met Sue  my wife we married in 1974  I joined the territorial army  for just under ten years  furthest outpost I went to was Cyprus worked at home on the dairy farm all my working life seen many changes in dairy farming  and not all of them good.

Monica - Retired Farmer

Monica was born in 1947 at RAF Gutersloh, Germany and has two younger sisters. She grew up in Prenton, Birkenhead, Wirral and attended Woodchurch Secondary School for Girls. Monica was a regular worshipper at Holy Cross church, Woodchurch, where she was confirmed and had been a bell ringer and chorister.
She started her first job in 1963 at Silcock and Lever Feeds in Liverpool as a stock control clerk but was soon promoted to a computer animal feed formulator and in 1968 she transferred to the animal feed factory as a Personnel Assistant where her duties involved payroll and the interviewing of hourly paid workers. The factory closed in 1971 and Monica was made redundant but soon secured a job in the Dole Office in Birkenhead. Monica joined the Agricultural Chaplaincy Team as an Associate Chaplain in 2009.

Colin - Fruit Farmer

I've recently retired after 50 years of fruit farming.
I was born in the farm house at Eddisbury Fruit Farm in 1946.
After leaving school at 18, I worked on 2 Warwickshire fruit farms before going to Pershore Institute where I gained a Certificate in Horticulture, returning to Eddisbury in 1967, where I have been ever since. My father and I were planning to go into partnership but he died suddenly in 1971, leaving me the farm which I ran till 2001, when I went into partnership with my stepson, who had also been to Pershore, where he learnt the craft of apple juice and cider making.
In 1996 we stopped using the Wholesale markets because of diminishing returns and turned to Farmers Markets , which were a God send financially but meant working a 7 day, 80hr week.
Succession to the next generation wasn't to be, so I've sold or rented the land and buildings to a local family who are carrying on the business. I'm giving them help and support so they will succeed. I have kept one orchard.
I became a licenced Lay Reader at St Andrews Tarvin in 1998, where I also ring the bells and wind the church clock.
My other hobbies are folk singing, playing jigs and reels, and folk dancing. I have recently recorded a CD of my father's folk songs, which I now sing in local folk clubs.

Sarah - Chartered Surveyor

Sarah is a Director at Meller Speakman Ltd a leading Cheshire-based firm of Land Agents and Consultants based in Wilmslow.  Meller Speakman act for a diverse range of clients offering strategic estate management, ‘Red Book’ valuations, succession planning, farm and land sales and contract farming advice and management. Sarah is also a tenant dairy farmer’s daughter and although Sarah has worked predominately as a Landlords Agent for the last 11 years she is fully aware of the struggles and pressures on tenant farmers as well as the wider farming community. Sarah enjoys working closely with clients who operate in the farming and rural sector and having been involved in a number of sensitive cases, Sarah became aware of the work of the Agricultural Chaplaincy and the valuable support they offer to the rural community.  Sarah is very much looking forward to developing her role as the honorary Chartered Surveyor to the Cheshire Agricultural Society and looks forward to working with the team.

Sally - Methodist Lay Preacher

I am a Methodist Lay Preacher, and work for the Methodist Church as a Community Lay Worker and Fund Raiser. Since January 2018 I have also been the Fund Raiser for the Chaplaincy - starting with little knowledge of farming, but able to learn quickly. Previous work has included Quantity Surveying, Physiotherapy, factory work, postal worker, cleaning, bar work and lollipop lady - I am a people person!

Maureen

My name is Maureen Hinkins and I have been married to husband, David for almost 52 years. We have two adult sons, three grandsons and one granddaughter.  I was born in a small town called Mossley in Lancashire, now part of Tameside in Greater Manchester.

After our marriage we tended to move around the country quite a bit depending on David’s job. I worked in administration for the local authority for many years and later in professional office PA roles.  After becoming a Christian in 1992 our awareness of the needs of the outside world pressed on our hearts and David and I decided to leave full time employment in 1998 and we volunteered to work in Southern Africa, first in Botswana and then in Zimbabwe until we returned to the UK in 2004 to be nearer our family.   

During our time in Africa, I attended several counselling training schools and helped teach in a pre-school and volunteered through our church as a leader of a group providing over 100 Aids orphans with a cooked meal each day. On our return to the UK we worked as volunteers at a Christian training centre in the north of Scotland, where I also gained more counselling qualifications throughout our time there. 

In 2009 we returned to the north west and settled in the Northwich area being central for our family.  We have always been part of a local church wherever we have lived since becoming a Christian and feel it is now a good time to work alongside the Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy to help those who need support.

David

I was born in 1944 in Greenfield Saddleworth West Yorkshire and spent my early life up to leaving school working on a farm when not at school or spending an occasional day with the local gamekeeper.

After school I trained as an engineer before joining the Royal Navy. After 5 years I received a medical discharge for injuries sustained. I married Maureen in 1967 and we have two sons and three grandsons and a granddaughter.

After the RN I went back to engineering working in Hampshire and then in Shropshire.

I changed occupation and worked as a Project Manager in Northwest England, Greater Manchester, Bosnia during the conflict driving an ambulance although I only spent two weeks there, Botswana two years and Zimbabwe 4 ½ years as National Director for Habitat for Humanity International a US charity, not to be confused with the store of that name, and in my spare time Mentoring some farmers in Zimbabwe during Mugabe’s so called land reform . Finally, the Scottish Highlands for five years before returning to the north west to be with Family.

I was trained by the RN and other organisations as a Mentor and worked for five years after retirement as a volunteer with SAFFA, The Soldiers and Airforce families Association as a mentor working with young men who had received a medical discharge because of injuries sustained in either Iraqi or Afghanistan. The travelling and stresses involved became too much and I had to resign from SSAFA earlier this year in 2018.

Fortunately, I saw a report on Granada reports about the West Cheshire Agricultural Chaplaincy, contacted Sharron and started with the Chaplaincy in June 2018 and now both myself and my wife help with the work of the Chaplaincy.

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Toft Hall Farm

Toft

Knutsford

WA16 9PD

© 2017 Churches Together in Cheshire in association with Churches Together in England. Registered Charity No 1115015