Farmers’s wives are hoping to raise over £10,000 for flood-hit producers in Somerset later this spring
Berwick’s Lucy Armstrong, also a part time business analyst, of Murton Farm, and six others are organising a ‘Spring Shindig’ on Saturday, May 3 in Kelso’s Springwood Hall.
The mum-of-one explained: “We are fortunate we’ve never seen anything quite as bad as what they’ve experienced. It’s people’s livelihoods, their homes and businesses. I spoke to a few friends and said let’s try and do something, let’s try and get some fundraising going. Farming is a close knit community and we would like to help, that’s how it came about.”
The other organisers are Jill McGregor of Coldstream Mains, Coldstream, Jane Fenwick (nee Murray) whose family farm West Horton, Wooler, Susan Thomson of Blakelaw, Kelso, Tanya Conway from Belford, who is the NFU regional manager based at Alnwick, and Ailsa Tweedie of Bughtrig, Hownam, Jedburgh.
“It’s been just great, everyone was so willing to help and has been so supportive. The hall capacity is 350 and we would like to fill it. I would be happy if we raised £10,000, which I’m sure we will: we’d like to raise as much as we possibly can.”
Lincolnshire’s Andrew Ward, farmer and founder of Forage Aid to help farmers hit by last winter’s bad winter, is the evening’s speaker. He has been involved in the relief effort for Somerset producers and is reported as saying they will need bedding and fodder for possibly the next 18 months.
Lucy said: “He’s just been down to visit. He said really if you thought it was bad before with the flood, it’s just devastation now that the waters have subsided. It’s not in the media now and I just think we don’t want people to be just forgotten about.”
The wives are working with countryside charities, RABI (Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institute), to help the families, and the Addington Fund to help the businesses, and the money raised will be split between the two.
The evening includes a two-course dinner, a luxury auction, raffle and dancing to music by popular Edinburgh band, Northern Star. Donations so far include a Barbour coat, Hunter wellies, malt whisky, two days’ shooting, a £100 wine voucher, a week’s stay in a cottage on Holy Island, shooting lessons, with more coming in “fast and furious” said Lucy. And already the team have raised about £1,000 in cash donations.
“The Spring Shindig is not only for farmers,” said Lucy: “We’ve got a lot of people from lots of different backgrounds who really want to help and, although the aim is to raise money, we also want to give people a fun filled evening!”
“It’s really touched a lot of people’s hearts and those who can’t come have sent cheques or sponsored part of the evening, It’s just been unbelievable. It would be great if there was a knock-on effect and there were shindigs throughout the country to raise money.”
Tickets are £35, the dress code is party frocks for the 7.30pm-1am evening. To book or donate ring Lucy Armstrong 07739 159212 or Kirsty Barr 07734 314875 or email firstname.lastname@example.org