Cumbria

Farmer sends fodder to Cumbrian sheep farms hit by snow

Sheep in the snow
Image caption Sheep farmers in Cumbria were hit by cold weather right in the middle of lambing season

A farmer from Lincolnshire has come to the aid of struggling Cumbrian sheep farmers by sending them free fodder.

Andrew Ward from Leadenham near Lincoln has sent 55 bales of hay and silage to Bootle to help farmers affected by March's snowstorm.

He is now enlisting the help of farmers countrywide to send more supplies.

Mr Ward, an arable farmer, was moved by the plight of sheep farmers, and described their situation as "heartbreaking".

Cumbrian farmers lost hundreds of ewes and lambs during March's cold weather.

Mr Ward said: "We all have to stick together, because it's a very unique industry.

"I couldn't just sit here and see the suffering that the animals and the farming families are going through there in Cumbria, knowing that I've got feed in my yard."

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The National Farmers Union (NFU) said farmers had been "overwhelmed by his generosity".

Now word of his actions has spread and farmers from across the UK are offering feed for those struggling.

Mr Ward, whose personal contribution cost him about £2,000, said he had received offers amounting to about 1,000 bales of feed.

Some are also offering free haulage, but he said more was needed.

"We're going through a very bad time in arable farming, but that is nothing compared to the hardship the sheep farmers are going through," he said.

"They're on their knees financially, but also emotionally and that is just heartbreaking."

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