Dating agencies for farmers

"It's how you hear about hunt balls, Young Farmers meetings and parties, and you can see who is going," says Vittoria Pannizon, 27, who lives in Gloucestershire. "After that we kept bumping into each other and eventually went out for supper in Cirencester." Vicky Cooke, 34, a teacher living in a village near Rugby, met her fiancé, Richard Jones, 33, from Sutton Coldfield, on My Single Friend. "Dating in the country is always a problem due to distances," Mary Balfour says.

"All my friends are married and starting families, and no one wanted to go out on the pull. "Richard was the third person I met through My Single Friend. "You can meet people but the fact you have to drive puts pressure on any date.

"But that kind of event doesn't happen every month; it takes a lot of effort to arrange." Determined to improve the chances of fresh encounters in the countryside, Lucy Reeves, 30, from Northamptonshire, founded rural matchmaking website Muddy Matches with her sister Emma in 2007.

"I grew up in the countryside before moving to London and overseas.

"People come from all over the country and there's a seating plan done by area to combat cliquiness," Lucy says."When they ask me why I'm single, I never know how to respond," she says. Here in the country people wonder what's wrong with you.But I'd rather be on my own than with someone who isn't quite right.The nationwide body of 662 clubs hosts social events throughout the year such as parties and quizzes.A study by Louise Elliott, a land agent for Savills, suggests that the parents of about half of people in farming communities met via Young Farmers and a quarter were introduced by a farming friend.

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