Devon

Devon farmer refuses to allow snow to stop deliveries

Mark Bury, Eversfield Farm
Image caption Mark Bury said he could have gone bankrupt

Customers have praised a Devon farmer for refusing to let them down because of the weather.

Mark Bury, who runs Eversfield Organic, was horrified when courier firms could not guarantee to deliver his Christmas orders.

So using a hired Land Rover, his son and a family friend have been driving the length and breadth of the country.

Ian Halstead from Shropshire said he was amazed when his organic chicken was hand-delivered from the farm.

"The order should have landed last week, but I assumed the courier had a backlog, so didn't pester them for an update," he said.

Mr Halstead told BBC News when the delivery arrived on his doorstep, he was "nearly gobsmacked".

"A farmer's Land Rover isn't really the most comfortable of drives and the lad looked rather cold.

"I gave him a brew and, as he was thawing, he said he was now driving into Wolverhampton, then over to Yorkshire, then across to Hull."

Mr Halstead said he had ordered his Christmas meat from Eversfield for the past three years and, after the Devon farmer's ingenuity and commitment, he certainly would again.

"I feel a bit guilty actually," he said.

"It's not as if I ordered £300 of meats - it was only a chicken, but he still drove it to Shropshire all the way from Devon."

Mr Bury, 51, who farms at Bratton Clovelly, near Okehampton, said he knew he would have to take drastic action when his normal courier, TNT, told him it had a huge backlog of deliveries because of the weather.

'Consumer confidence'

"The only guarantee they gave was that they couldn't deliver," Mr Bury said.

"So I started phoning round local dealers until I found a Land Rover to hire.

"We've definitely done the right thing - not only could we have gone bankrupt, we simply couldn't let our customers down at Christmas.

"Consumer confidence is key."

The Christmas deliveries which include turkeys, geese and gammon, have been made by Mr Bury's 20-year-old son Hamish and family friend Henry Authors, 21.

Driving and working through the night since Tuesday, Hamish Bury has so far covered nearly 2,000 miles in a "knackered old Land Rover which feels like it's going to fall apart".

The company's deliveries, possibly with the exception of those to Scotland, should be completed late on Thursday.

"It's my birthday on Boxing Day, so I can relax properly then," Mr Bury added.

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