A 23-year-old from Norfolk says she is feeling “proud” after spending lockdown picking vegetables – defying the stereotype that British people cannot hack working on the land.

Maddie Yarham took the role at a farm in Attleborough when a job offer at John Lewis fell through due to coronavirus.

She worked the whole nine-week season picking asparagus during hail storms and hot weather, unlike many of her counterparts who quit early on.

Ms Yarham was among 50 Brits who worked on the farm – the first to do so in decades – to plug a gap usually filled by migrants.

The British Growers Association says 70,000 seasonal staff are needed for picking each year. However, farmers say the pandemic has created a foreign labour shortage and they cannot recruit enough domestic workers.

A Defra spokesperson said the government would “continue to work with farmers and growers to ensure they have access to labour”.