Richard Longthorp and Hugh Crabtree awarded NPA Lifetime Fellowships (story updated)
19th Jun 2019 / By Alistair Driver
Two of the most significant figures in the association's distinguished history 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 NPA'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.
Richard (Lister) described the NPA's latest Fellows, honoured for their 'sustained contribution to the NPA and UK pig industry', as 'fantastic stalwarts'.
Hugh 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.
Richard described how Hugh, a former Chris Brant Award winner, came to prominence when he organised the Winnie the Pig protest outside Parliament, coordinating 190 12-hour shifts. Former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell described it as 'the best political protest he had ever seen', Richard 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!"
Moving onto the second presentation, Richard 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 ways 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.
Richard (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.
Both Hugh and Richard paid tribute to the vital role the NPA continues to play today, under the leadership of chief executive Zoe Davies.
The event brought together key figures, past and present, from the NPA's two decades for a great occasion enjoyed by all who attended. Richard (Lister) thanked the guests and many others not in attendance 'for all your hard work and contributions to the association over the past 20 years'.
Stewart Houston then gave a moving account of the NPA's birth in 1999 'out of a desperation to see the industry speak with one voice'.
He outlined some of the NPA's key moments and thanked those who have played important roles over the years, from the likes of Digby, 'The Colonel' (Richard Longthorp), John Godfray, Ian Campbell, James Black through to the current team of chairman Richard Lister, chief executive Zoe Davies, Lizzie Wilson, Ed Barker, new recruit Rebecca Veale and Andrea Vickers, who did a fantastic job in organising the event.
"Why has the NPA been successful? Over the years we have been lucky to have the support of people passionate about our industry. Members of the NPA board, Producer Group and our Allied Industry and Breeding Company Committees are to be lauded for giving up their time and using their experience to guide our fantastic and committed staff over 20 years," Stewart said.
Guests enjoyed a fantastic hog roast provided and expertly cooked by Producer group member and Devon farmer Andrew Freemantle, who arrived the night before to start cooking it.
They also received a copy of Digby's brilliant new book, described by Richard as a 'blockbuster charting the NPA's 20-year journey, the up and downs, the tears of joy and despair'.