MELKSHAM & District Young Farmers Club has closed 80 years after it was founded.

The club’s last-ditch attempt to recruit new members failed and organisers decided sadly to shut it down.

The decision followed a two-hour debate to discuss the club’s future at a special meeting in Lacock on September 28.

Members past and present attended the meeting, including one aged 88. The youngest person present was aged 12.

Helen Darvill, the Wiltshire YFC County Organiser, said: “It’s very sad. It was my club and I am absolutely gutted. It was the club I joined when I was 16 and now I’m 52.

“We are going to give it a couple of years and see if we can get in some fresh blood to re-invigorate the club and get it going again.”

In recent years, Melksham & District YFC has had difficulty in recruiting volunteers to take on the leadership and encourage membership back up.

The club had six members left with an average age of just over 16 but one has gone off to university to study to become a teacher.

One member was too old to continue and the other four members have joined YFCs in Calne and Chippenham.

Helen added: “Over the past 12 months, the advisory committee has attempted to gain new members but to little avail.”

Melksham & District Young Farmers Club was formed in 1937 to give young people an education about all things agricultural with a focus on the keeping and growing of living things.

The club also offered young farmers, both men and women, the opportunity to socialise and have fun outside of work.

One of the largest youth organisations in the world, the National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs has 619 clubs with 24,500 members aged 10 to 26 across the UK.

Over the decades, as the farming industry has changed, many YFCs have been forced to diversify their membership.

Many clubs now attract young people who are not part of the UK farming community but have a love of agricultural and the countryside.