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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher



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24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


July 2017

July 2017

13 Jun 2017

It was raining and Election Day, and I was cutting the grass at Rushall Manor. Forty-five children from Newtown Primary School, Cemetery Junction, had enjoyed the first of 2 nights camping.  A group of 20 from Brookfields Special School had set up camp and were on their 10 kilometre hike as part of their D of E Bronze Award. Twelve students of mixed language and ability from Prospect School were on a mission to clear nettles, sweep and clean, and were reluctantly poised for action with brooms, wheelbarrows, shovels and forks.  And 30 year 10’s from Beechwood School, Slough, (famous for being at the bottom of the National League Tables over a number of years) were being marshalled into waders for a river visit, under the watchful eye of Graham Parsons. I said to Cliff Marriott, who’s in charge, “This is brilliant”.

My mother died was I was eight and my father quickly married the sister from The London Hospital who had nursed her over many months.  He cut off all relationships with my mother’s family, which was large and poor and from Hackney.  During the depression my grandfather, having failed as a publican, would stand at the nearby docks trying for work.  He was small and looked at bit like Clement Atlee and wasn’t an obvious choice as a labourer.  My mother’s 5 brothers benefitted enormously in life as a result of the work of the Eton Manor Boys Club. There, Etonians dedicated their time to running boxing, cricket, drama, football, literacy and probably a bit of numeracy.  The man who became Lord Longford taught my uncle to write formal letters.  The boys who were bright all subsequently got jobs in the city. I was reintroduced to my mother’s family after 35 years, following research by her brother David Poole who had become a much respected company secretary.

David was married but childless and thrilled to find this honeypot in Berkshire of a farm home bustling with an extended family and always folks travelling through. He was also thrilled about the John Simonds Trust because it so closely reflected in its aims and objectives the London club which had defined his life. He became a dearly loved part of our lives. He gave £150k to the Trust and was really pleased to see his gift in action in the lives of young people BEFORE he died.

John Bishop

Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out labourers into his harvest field.” Mathew 9 vs 37,38.”