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Durham City YFC Member Wins Senior Member of the Year Competition

Durham City YFC Member Wins Senior Member of the Year Competition

Alex McMenemy, a longstanding member of Durham City YFC in County Durham, has clinched NFYFC's Senior Member of the Year title.

With over 15 years of dedication to the organisation, Alex’s victory marks a significant milestone in her YFC journey. Alex was declared the winner at the national final, supported by Tama, at the Royal Spa Centre in Leamington Spa on Saturday 20 April 2024.

Expressing her astonishment at the win, Alex said: "I'm still slightly speechless. It has been such an amazing group of finalists this year that it feels a complete shock to be standing here. I just feel completely and utterly overwhelmed and so proud I have been able to do my club and my county proud as well."

Alex competed in the national final against six other YFC members, each of whom had advanced through County and Area rounds to earn their place in the final. The competition involved supplying a two-page synopsis about their YFC experience in advance of the final, and on the day participate in interviews with the judges in private and on stage in front of an audience.

Angharad Thomas from Carmarthenshire came second in the competition and Maddie Kimble from Buckinghamshire came third.

SMOTY 2024 finalists

Managing challenges

Alex’s involvement in YFC dates back to when she first joined at age 11. Last summer, she was elected to the role of County Chair during a challenging time in the county.

Since then, she has spearheaded efforts to stabilise and revitalise the county's future, focusing on recruitment, engagement of county officers and clubs, and rallying members to showcase the county's strengths.

“I really tried to galvanise everyone in the county to make sure we do ourselves justice. We might be a very small county of only around 250 members but the members we’ve got are incredible,” said Alex.

Preparation for the competition presented Alex with an opportunity to review her achievements.

"Preparing for today was an interesting task," she said. "The benefit of this competition is that it has given me a real chance to reflect on everything I have done in YFC over the years."

Interview skills

Alex highlighted how the competition helps hone interview skills and build confidence – especially as the final involves being questioned on stage in front of an audience.

“On stage I was asked questions about educational opportunities we could offer young farmers and how we could potentially sell YFC to people who are not part of the organisation. This is something that we really need to get better at doing. There’s so much positive good in YFC and we need to get that out to people,” said Alex.

“The stage interviews also give you a level of confidence that you can back yourself, which we’re all a little bit guilty of not doing.”

Alex’s years in YFC have not only shaped her personal growth but also influenced her professional life. Working as an Agricultural Regulator for the Environment Agency, Alex credits YFC for introducing her to the career. "There's so much I owe to YFC," she acknowledged. "I wouldn't have had these kinds of opportunities if I hadn't actually joined."