IT’s not long now until we find out who are the region’s farming heroes in our Three Counties Awards.

We will be broadcasting the awards ceremony at 7pm on November 26 via our Facebook page and in the run-up we are taking a look at the finalists in each category.

Here are those in the running for the Farming Hero award, sponsored by Hereford College of Arts


STOCKMAN Roger Bowen has won plenty of awards in his 54-year farming career.

And now he is in with a chance of another one a few months after retiring.

Roger has been shortlisted after years of dedicated service he has given at Oakfields Farm in Kingsland, near Leominster.

He started his career at just 15 after his father died of a heart attack on Christmas Day, and very early on spent four days and nights in the lambing shed without going home.

He was given a job at Oakfields Farm by the owner at the time Derek Vaughan, a man who Mr Bowen, now 69, said was a father figure and taught him everything he knows.

Mr Bowen described the the Vaughan family as “the best people to work for”, with the farm now run by Derek’s sons Peter and James.

One of the proudest moments of his long career was in 2016 when he was handed an award by Princess Anne when he passed the 50-year mark.

Roger biked to work every single day of his working career. Never drove once.

He has clocked up quite some miles.


SINCE 2012, Ian Pugh, with the help of his farming friends, has raised approaching £150,000 for charity.

In 2010, at the age of 68, Ian was diagnosed with alveolitis (farmers lung), a life-limiting illness. At 70 instead of having a party, he decided to hold a charity fundraiser.

It was supposed to be a one-off, but now aged 78 and still battling his lung condition, he has helped to raise huge amounts for charity and started his own business, Ian Pugh Agriculture.

Mr Pugh is famous for being a key element of the Merry Millers, a group set up back in the 1970s for farmers to get together to play cricket but which has been relaunched as the fundraising operation that has helped raise so much cash.

He has organised a biennial farmer orientated dinner, dance and charity auction and their biggest success was last year when over £40,000 was raised.

The main beneficiaries were MacMillan Renton Cancer Unit and the Heart and Lung Unit in Hereford Hospital, St Michael’s Hospice Hereford, and Velindre Cancer Centre Cardiff.

And on top of that, he is still working as hard as ever.


A farmer on a Duchy of Cornwall-owned farm, Sam Stables has been described as a driven individual who always tries to improve efficiency – as well as highlighting issues surrounding farmers’ mental health.

In the face of challenging times on the farm Sam is trying to help other local farmers through his charity We Are Farming Minds.

Sam and wife Emily have dedicated a large amount of time to get the charity up and running with the aim of increasing awareness of mental health issues in agriculture and reducing isolation in rural communities.

Before lockdown a charity evening organised by Sam and friends helped to raise awareness and £10,000. Sam, who farms at Kingsthorne, suffered with his own mental health issues, and that prompted him to set up his own charity to help others in the industry who struggle with isolation.

His efforts got royal recognition when Prince Charles sent him a personal letter supporting his venture.

And as one of his nominators put it, without work like Sam’s the industry could see more deaths from unforeseen illnesses.

For more on the awards go to