* Special Discount *
Westcountryman – A Life in Farming, Countryside, Cricket and Cider
£15,00(Includes P&P - UK only)
Anthony Gibson has lived and worked in the West Country all his life. He is best known for the pivotal role that he played as South West Regional Director for the NFU in the two great farming crises of the past 40 years, BSE and the 2001 Foot and Mouth Disease epidemic.
But he was also a key player in resolving the seminal clashes between farming and conservation on Exmoor and the Somerset Levels and in negotiating environmental management agreements covering vast areas of Dartmoor.
Besides all that, he has found time to campaign for traditional cider and real ale, to champion West Country food and drink, to explore the relationship between great West Country writers and the landscapes that inspired them and to become ‘the voice of Somerset cricket’ for the BBC.
This is the colourful story of a varied and eventful life, in which he has always sought out challenges, revelled in controversy, used his skills as a writer and broadcaster to change things for the better and never shied away from speaking out as a powerful voice on behalf of the region that he loves and the people he has represented. Never was this more valued or important than during those two great farming crises. What it was like to be in the front line, when the future of West Country livestock farming hung in the balance, is brought vividly to life.
‘Westcountryman’ is about Anthony Gibson the man, as well as Anthony Gibson the campaigner. It includes an honest account of what it was like growing up as the son of a famous but erratic father, the writer and broadcaster, Alan Gibson; his years at school and university; the loss of his virginity as a waiter at Hope Cove; and a moving chapter on his relationship with his brother Andrew, who died from cancer shortly before the 2001 FMD crisis broke.
Many of the farmers with whom he worked in the NFU feature in these pages, alongside cricketers, golfers, cider-makers, conservationists, poets and novelists, politicians, farming leaders, as well as, of course, his own family.
Running to 384 pages, abundantly illustrated and beautifully written, this is a book that will appeal to anyone who loves the West Country or wants to understand its story over the past half-century, from the point of view of a man who has been at the very heart of it.