Kind-hearted local businesses rallied together to come to the aid of a flood-hit farm in Northumberland.
The idea was the brainchild of farm trader Emma Croft and businessman Gareth Taylor. Straw was kindly donated by G J Taylor & Sons, a trailer loaned for free from Reader Haulage of Brandesburton, haulage complimentary of Robert Croft Ltd and driver labour donated by Mark Harding.
The straw was loaded on Friday afternoon and left Brandesburton at 4am on Saturday morning to be delivered to a stock farmer at Haydon Bridge. The area had received significant rainfall throughout December and the banks of the River South Tyne burst its banks twice between Christmas and New Year.
The surrounding land flooded on the second occasion and stock farmers had animals stood in over three feet of water for several days, with feed and bedding completely destroyed. The idea originally came about between Christmas and New Year – the devastation of the floods was widely reported, particularly up in Cumbria and Northumberland.
Emma Croft said: “It was business as usual for the majority of us here in East Yorkshire but for many farmers up in Cumbria however, this was only the beginning of their problems as the clean-up operation commenced.
“Many suffered damage to buildings, land and feed stocks and I had seen online that companies were getting involved with straw donations and this genuinely seemed like the least we could do.
“Gareth and I had several conversations about this and the deal was that if I could get the haulage organised, he would sort the straw. It was a done deal.” Gareth Taylor added:
“Donating the straw seemed like the least we could do. His cattle were stood in almost three feet of water in December and his hay bales were completely ruined.
“I would like to think that if we were found in this unfortunate situation there would be other farmers that would want to help us.
“Farmers should stick together in these difficult times.”
Robert Croft said: “Although we are a bulk haulage firm that usually hauls grain, the kind loan of a trailer from Reader Haulage meant that we could extend our services to transporting straw.
“Although I am not a farmer, my business is within the agricultural sector and I think it is important that we help each other through these times.”
Mark Harding left at 4am with the lorry on Saturday morning and upon his return he insisted that he did not want to be paid for his labour. He said: “Everyone had made such an effort to be involved and do their bit – and I wanted to do mine”.
If anyone is interested in donating straw, please get in touch with Emma Croft of Anderson Grain.