This photograph captures Anne’s passion for the farming way of life, the beautiful and unique Jersey cow and, indeed, everything that she treasured about her island home. Anne experienced the Occupation as a schoolgirl living on the family farm, Ville Brée in St Martin, with parents Tom and Eunice Billot and her two younger sisters. She was 13 years old when the war ended. The courage and resilience of the Jersey people in facing the hardships and privations of the Occupation was truly impressive. Like many families, Anne’s was used to making do and improvising.
Anne adored the farm, the cattle especially, and because her father was incapacitated with a chronic lung condition it was quite natural for her and younger sister Ruth to lend a hand with the farm work when not in school. Although a top student, having won a scholarship to Jersey College for Girls, it was no hardship for Anne to leave school straight after her “School Cert” to work full time on the farm.
Anne threw herself into looking after the cows, Sweetie’s Bouquet was one of her prized animals, as was another great cow called Visiting Design which went on to win awards for exceptional milk production as well as giving birth to triplet heifer calves, a rare feat indeed.
She married young (just 18 years old) and the partnership with husband Leslie achieved great things, as they embarked on a farming adventure which culminated in them buying the property La Ferme and laying the agricultural foundations that their sons, and now grandson, would build upon so notably.
Anne never regretted leaving school so young, when a glittering academic career was beckoning. Rather, she thrived on real life experience, immersed herself in music and involvement in the community and studied widely. As a single mother in middle age, at a time when feminism was gaining ground, she disdained to be labelled, preferring only to be herself and do what she believed in. She was now able to enjoy the rewards of her endeavours, as her sons took over the reins of the business. She delighted in her grandchildren; little ones can seldom have had a finer role model.
With more time for herself, once again it was her love of the Jersey cow that carved out a path for her. Leading the team that erected the bronze sculpture commemorating the La Vaque dè Jèrri was a highlight. But it was her involvement with the World Jersey Cattle Bureau that was most fulfilling. It enabled her to travel the world and she revelled in meeting like-minded people who shared her passion for the Jersey. With typical gusto she threw herself into Bureau affairs, her sound judgement, diplomacy and dynamism gaining universal respect. She went on to lead that prestigious organisation, serving as President for eleven years, and gaining many accolades along the way; a true ambassador for our island and its breed of cattle.