Lorraine Allanson - Keynote Speaker

Informative presentations drawing on my life's experiences in the farming and tourism industries

About me

I grew up on an isolated farm in North Yorkshire and spent many years working in the farming and tourism industries. At 4 years old I was lambing sheep like a vet!

At school I decided I did not want to do the usual girls subjects of cookery and sewing. I requested that I be allowed to do metalwork as a subject choice and subsequently a GCSE. The school was supportive of my decision and I was the first and only girl amongst the boys to study metal work at that time.

I left school at 16 and worked on my fathers rented farm. I was initially the only female when I attended agricultural college and was the first female student to win one of the colleges top awards.

After farming for many years I converted the old stone barns into holiday accommodation. In 2012, by some fluke, I won the AAs top award for being the 'Friendliest bed and Breakfast' in the whole of UK out of 3,500 businesses!

In 2014 I stuck my head above the parapet and stood up in favour of a controversial energy project. I could see the economic benefits that the development could offer my impoverished rural community where many people live in poverty. 

I took on protest groups, environmental NGOs and politically motivated activists, exposing their scaremongering propaganda & hypocrisy after their intimidation tried to silence my community from having a voice. We were ignored by politicians, the police and the courts who failed to protect local residents whilst they pandered to the national activists. We were denied a voice but we would not be silenced.

Rural communities have few opportunities to develop new industries and are often seen as affluent. The idyllic images often hide rural deprivation and youngsters inevitably move away to earn higher salaries elsewhere or remain and endure mainly part time, seasonal employment paying only the basic wage. I could not stand by and allow that situation to continue. 

I have been personally targeted along with my business by activists and have had to fight hard to save my business, my reputation and have battled to give my community a voice when outsiders tried to silence us. 

It’s been an incredible journey from living a quiet simple rural life to being thrust into the spotlight. I have been requested to give lectures and presentations for University engineering students, National and International energy conferences and at the time of writing I have been co opted onto the Multi Stakeholder Group of the UK Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative based in the governments dept of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.