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BBBF ( British Boys for British Farms)

The 5th BBBF (2018) gathering organised by Stephen Milner and his wife Hanna.

This is an excellent piece of work fully created by Stephen.

The 1st National YMCA BBBF Reunion was held on Tuesday 13 May 2014 at North Cadbury Court, North Cadbury, Somerset. There was a presence of BBC Country-file and Media.

Further details from Stephen Milner, Email:

YMCA British Boys for British Farms 1932-1968 (BBBF) Reunion Tuesday 13 May 2014


Stephen Milner is a retired member of YMCA staff and he is following up the YMCA British Boys for British Farms Training Scheme (known as YMCA BBBF) which operated from 1932 to 1968.

The YMCA BBBF Farm Training Scheme was basically a forerunner to Farm Institutes and Agricultural Colleges.

Both the book: "British Boys for British Farms: The Story of the YMCA Farm Training Scheme" by Barbara Vessey, published by the YMCA in 1995, and the YMCA BBBF Farm Training scheme have very historical places in British agriculture.

There were 14 centres across England. Stephen is currently in contact with over 40 former BBBF boys, 12 staff and 2 lecturers. More than 20000 boys aged between 14 and 16 went through this YMCA farm training scheme. Some of the boys went on to work in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Hanna and Stephen attended Peter Parfitt's Memorial Service at Morden College on Wednesday 5 June 2013. Hanna and Stephen represented the YMCA at this service. It was a wonderful service full of Tributes, Readings, Hymns and Prayers.

Christine Reed nee Parfitt sent Stephen this photo (above) which is now preserved on this site. Mr and Mrs Parfitt with Christine on the bonnet of the tractor surrounded by BBBF boys at Wilderwick House, East Grinstead.  

Archie Montgomery is the current owner of North Cadbury Court. North Cadbury Court was one of the YMCA BBBF Centres from 1950 -1966. Archie and Stephen Milner arranged the 1st National BBBF Reunion at North Cadbury Court which was held on Tuesday 13 May 2014 at North Cadbury Court, Somerset.

Archie is a farmer and has contacts with Farmers Weekly and other Press / TV / local media etc. Archie arranged for someone from the YMCA Press and Media to be present at the Reunion.

Stephen recently met Peter Barton, a former BBBF boy who was at Wilderwick at the time when Peter Parfitt was the warden there. Peter Barton manages a large chicken farm in Sussex. He writes in his email to us about Peter Parfitt: ‘Sad to note the passing of a true gentleman, a life well lived’.

There was a lot of information on Peter Parfitt's life, his two spells in farming in Africa with Christian Charities as well as his time in the YMCA.

On Thursday 6th June 2013 we attended the YMCA National Thanksgiving Event at St Giles-in-the-Field Church, London, and met John Drake, Ken Livingstone and Ken Montgomery there.

With best wishes –

Stephen and Hanna Milner

The YMCA Tea Van at the National Trust Croome Park, where it had been kept outside, before being moved undercover at the Yorkshire Air Museum where it is now being restored. The engine works, the Brakes and Clutch have been repaired, the bodywork requires restoration as well as the woodwork in the back of the van which has woodworm.

The van will be kept on loan at the Yorkshire Air Museum and it could well be used for serving refreshments again depending on Health & Safety requirements. 

Contributions towards the restoration would be much appreciated either through Y’s Retired or direct to the Yorkshire Air Museum with reference to “Repairs to YMCA Tea Van”.   

Sort Code:  56 – 00 - 70.    Account Name:  Yorkshire Air Museum.   Account No: 39056708.    Reference:  Repairs to YMCA Tea Van.    

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