A Brigg man is holding out the hand of friendship to his fellow farmers in the flood-hit north west of England.
Stuart Buckley made the 165-mile trip to Keswick at the weekend – armed with a lorry load of straw and hay to help farmers feed their animals after floods destroyed stores of winter fodder.
“This is my way of doing something to help,” said Mr Buckley.
“The farmers are struggling with feed for the animals; it is a horrendous situation to be in. To be hit once in this way is bad, but when it happens two or three times, it starts to take its toll.
“We watch the flooding on TV, but when you see it in real life it is a very frightening situation to be in.
“The power of the water and the force it comes with, you just can’t believe what is done.”
The situation is not one that will be remedied quickly either.
Once the flood waters go away, the farmers will still be left in the same position – land can be sodden and feed stores destroyed.
It will, therefore, be some time until the animals can be turned out to feed once more on the land.
Mr Buckley is calling on other farmers in the Rasen, Brigg and Caistor areas to help too and pledge their support over the coming months.
“There are lots of willing farmers I am sure and many farmers won’t miss a few bales, but it is the transport costs that are the biggest problem,” said Mr Buckley, who owns a lorry.
“If we could get a few local farmers to give 10 bales each and £100 towards the transport costs, I will gladly make the run again.”
Mr Buckley has been working alongside the charity Forage Aid to make the feed aid run.
The charity was set up by Lincolnshire farmer Andrew Ward in response to bad weather in 2013, which affected thousands of sheep in Wales.
The need for this type of charitable support was further highlighted when floods hit Somerset in 2014.
“As an arable farmer, I hadn’t fully appreciated how hard it can be rearing livestock,” said Mr Ward.
“I was so moved by scenes on TV of sheep starving and dying in the deep snow, I donated haylage I would normally sell and asked others to do the same.
“Through the tremendous support of the farming community and ancillary companies, Forage Aid was born.”
To find out more, go online at www.forageaid.org.uk.
You can also contact Stuart Buckley directly on 07850 652131.