CowParade Surrey leader Tim Metson on his perfect weekend
PUBLISHED: 08:11 05 July 2016 | UPDATED: 08:11 05 July 2016
Jane Elizabeth Hamilton-Cross / true-photo-image.co.uk
With Surrey hosting CowParade this summer, the world’s largest public art event, here we meet the man spearheading the project, director of Surrey Hills Enterprises, Tim Metson. A beef farmer and chartered surveyor by trade, he grew up on the family farm in the heart of the Surrey Hills
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2016
It would be a complete fabrication if I said that my average Surrey weekend was spent getting up mid-morning, lazing around for a couple of days and exploring the many great pubs that are on offer throughout the Surrey Hills. In actual fact, the average Surrey weekend is split roughly 50:50 over the year based on the farming calendar.
As I write, we are just coming out of the winter months, which means feeding, bedding up and general cattle management of our pedigree Hereford herd. We run a twice-yearly calving pattern and so we will have had 15 new fresh faces join the herd by now. About two years ago, we introduced a new enterprise to the farm, an airstream-style mobile catering vehicle called ‘the fillet and bean’ to help us reach a new market for our beef as well as offering freshly-ground coffee. This means, mixed in with the animal management, we will start the season catering at various private, corporate and public functions including supporting the National Trust. Drawing up plans to build our own on-site wholesale butchery, to service various quality outlets throughout the county, is also forming an important part of the farm’s business development.
Summer months are different but no less busy. Weekends get frantic with event after event and bringing in the harvest to feed the cattle and sheep throughout the winter months. Other activities, such as managing a holiday cottage on the farm, property consultancy for clients and numerous amounts of admin, ensure that e-mails keep flowing no matter what day of the week.
Cattle are lowing
CowParade, the world’s largest public art event, which comes to Surrey this summer, has provided an extra focus for this year’s activities! This huge event will see full-size fibreglass cows, sponsored by businesses and charities and decorated by artists, on display throughout the county. It will be Surrey’s biggest ever combined business, community and charity event. Organised by Surrey Hills Enterprises CIC, of which I am a director, this event will help to engage rural and urban communities throughout the county.
Although it was me who suggested bringing the event to Surrey, I don’t think I could have ever estimated the level of work required. That said, the impact has been huge and I am looking forward to the parade this summer culminating in the festival and an auction later in the year. I am very excited at the prospect of these pieces of art raising great sums of money for some very inspiring and worthwhile charities. In the meantime, that means hours on end driving around the county delivering fibreglass cows to artists!
Finally, I do have a young (and long-suffering) family. When the opportunity arises, we enjoy visiting various National Trust properties or walking throughout the hills. A recent walk along the Greensand Way from Chilworth to Shalford, lunch at the Snooty Fox and a train trip back was very memorable.
This summer, no doubt we’ll also be busy looking for cows all over Surrey! In fact, there will be an opportunity to get out and find each cow using our specially-designed CowParade app. Download the free app online at cowparadesurreyhills.com. There will also be prizes on offer for those who find the most cows, including a Kuoni holiday to Mauritius!
• CowParade runs throughout the summer and raises money for local community projects and enterprise schemes that benefit the Surrey Hills landscape. For more information, see cowparadesurreyhills.com
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*** More about CowParade Surrey