National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

30 September 2021

After winning the national finals of NFYFC’s pallet upcycling competition, Cumbria’s FYFC’s wooden curved chair took pride of place at the Westmorland County Show in September before gracing the winner’s garden.

Robbie Hutchinson and Shannon Barnes from Cumbria FYFC won NFYFC’s online pallet upcycling competition, sponsored by Tama, back in August. The competition required competitors to dismantle pallets and produce an item complementing the theme The Great Outdoors.

For their winning entry, Robbie and Shannon used inspiration from living in the Lake District where they have seen lots of chairs cut into oak trees. They decided to create a seat that looked like an oak tree as the main feature. It took nine hours for them to craft the chair, which included a lot of time-consuming curved shaped pieces, cut by hand.

“I've always taken part in the general woodwork competitions since I started in YFC but I've been doing the upcycling competition for Grayrigg YFC for the past couple of years,” said Robbie who admits his skills have been perfected by working for a family-run joinery business.

“We had an unlimited amount of time this year to produce our entries so it gave me an opportunity to add the most detail possible. I created plenty of nice flowing curves, which hug you as you take a seat. Also, simply hand planing the wood added to the finished piece.”

The competition required competitors to dismantle pallets and produce an item complementing the theme The Great Outdoors. YFC members were asked to use as much of the wood as possible, as this was taken into account by the judges when marking. As the competition had to be moved to an online format due to the pandemic, competitors were asked to submit before, during and after photos along with details of their work.

Tama representative Andy Lanczack helped to judge the award, alongside NFYFC Life Vice President Ben Westwood and they were both impressed with the items YFC members had made.

Andy said: “Thank you to everyone who took park and congratulations to the winner. It’s marvellous what you can do with a few old pallets! We had some fantastic entries – YFC members did really well with the items they made but also the written details that were submitted.”

Two other counties earned top positions in the competition with Matthew Kirk and Scott Bradley from Leicestershire coming third in the competition for the YFC Bar they made out of pallets. Jennifer De Rochefort and George Shacklock came second for a statue of a stag they made that now sits on the green at Bicton College.

Robbie, who enjoys the chair in his garden at home, said he was shocked to win due to the high standard of entries.

“The night the results were announced, I was watching the live broadcast on Facebook and I was blown away by how amazing the creations were that had won third and second places. To to see mine win was shocking but absolutely brilliant,” explained Robbie. “It was the first national round I'd ever competed in so to win was truly astounding. It really is an achievement of a lifetime for me to be the 2021 winner of the pallet upcycling and an experience I will never forget.”


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