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Last Updated: Friday, 19 October 2007, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Farmers are top entrepreneurs
Ben and Charlotte
Ben and Charlotte Hollins (left and centre) Young Entrepreneur finalists
A young brother and sister from Shropshire have been crowned the UK's Young Rural Entrepreneurs of 2007.

Ben and Charlotte Hollins raised nearly 1.5m to save their late father's organic farm near Market Drayton from the threat of development.

The inaugural award, sponsored by The Field magazine and Lycett's insurance brokers, was presented at a ceremony in London on Thursday.

Ben, 23 and Charlotte, 25, now run Fordhall as a community farm.

shareholders

The pair were faced with eviction from the family farm after the death of their father, Arthur, who was a pioneer of organic farming.

They had six months to raise the 800,000 need to buy the farm.

Their fund-raising initiatives raised 1.4m from a combination of interest free loans and the sale of 8,000 shares in the farm.

One of the judges of the competition, Angus Keate of Lycetts described their achievement as remarkable. He said they had shown commitment and maturity since taking over the farm.

Charlotte said the award gave them more confidence to go ahead with plans for new ecofriendly facilities on the site. They planned to use some of 10,000 prize to rejuvenate their rundown farm house.

"As we approach winter it is extremely comforting for me at least, to know that we may not have to use the outside shower for too much longer." she said.

The other finalists in the competition included a farmer, a caterer and a furniture designer.



SEE ALSO
Pair raise 800,000 to save farm
30 Jun 06 |  Shropshire
Family's battle for organic farm
30 Jun 06 |  Shropshire
Public helps to save organic farm
27 Jun 06 |  Shropshire

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