A WOOTTON Wawen farmer is leading a campaign to help farmers affected by flooding on the Somerset Levels.
Mark Hollands, of Wootton Hill Farm, launched 'Buckets for Somerset' following a trip to the West Country to donate forage.
While there are other funds raising money for members of the public, he realised there was nothing particularly aimed at the farming community, many of whom have been forced to sell animals at market as the floods threatened their livelihoods.
Mr Hollands said: “This is very much a case of farmers helping farmers. It’s not a charity appeal but a goodwill gesture in the farming community.
“Many of those affected are tenant farmers who just can’t walk into another tenancy. They have fought long and hard to be where they are now so we are trying to do our bit to help them.”
The idea of Buckets for Somerset is that buckets of grain are donated. The grain can be forwarded to the farms to feed livestock or can be sold to raise cash.
“The response has been brilliant,” he added. “Within ten hours we had been pledged 20 tonnes of grain – and that was just through word of mouth. We now have offers of around 70 tonnes.
“This is the time of year that arable farmers are emptying out their grain stores and there is often some left over which can be a problem.
“We are offering to collect that for them.”
Mr Hollands is working with the NFU and farmers wanting to donate can drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, the NFU Mutual’s Charitable Trust has donated £50,000 to charities helping farmers and rural communities hit by the floods.
Trust chairman Richard Percy said: “The floods on the Somerset Levels are causing massive damage to homes, farms and businesses with thousands of acres under water for over six weeks. This means there will be severe difficulties on the Levels long after the waters have receded – possibly for years to come.
“NFU Mutual’s Charitable Trust was established to help farmers and country people when disasters strike, so we are pleased to support the efforts being made by farming and community charities.”
WARWICKSHIRE hunt supporters have raised more than £1,500 for the stricken Somerset farmers after staging a sponsored horse ride.
The eight-mile ride for Forage Aid, which started in Brailes, was arranged by Ian McConnel after poor weather forced the scheduled meet to be called off.
STAFF at a Stratford restaurant helped pay for a lorry-load of sandbags sent to combat the flooding along the river Thames.
A delivery of 1,000 sandbags and ten tonnes of sand was arranged by Ranjit Choongh, head of operations at Jimmy Spices which has a restaurant in Windsor Street, Stratford, with half the cost being met by those working at the eateries.
“I think this is something to be proud of especially as I asked them for their donation on Friday morning and by Saturday afternoon they had given me a pot of £500.”
The idea for the sandbags, which were taken to a depot in Surrey, came to Mr Choongh after he saw pictures of the flooding on the TV news.
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