Chatteris farm and friends go out of their way to help stricken Somerset farmers

10:37 31 March 2014

Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Left: Lucy Munns, Edward Gowler, Bart Woodbine Skylark marketing manager. George Munns, Mark Stoodley operations Director for Masters Logistical and Jane Munns. Picture: Steve Williams

Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Left: Lucy Munns, Edward Gowler, Bart Woodbine Skylark marketing manager. George Munns, Mark Stoodley operations Director for Masters Logistical and Jane Munns. Picture: Steve Williams

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Two articulated lorries full of hay, stock feed and sugar beet set off from a garden centre on Friday and travelled 220 miles to help out two flooded farms on the Somerset levels.

Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Driver Andy Butteril and Operations Director Mark Stoodley from Masters. Picture: Steve Williams.Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Driver Andy Butteril and Operations Director Mark Stoodley from Masters. Picture: Steve Williams.

The convoy, which set off from The Skylark Garden Centre in Wimblington, was organised by Chatteris farmer George Munns, of L & AE Munns and Son.

The loads were carried down by hauliers Bretts Transport, of Wisbech, and Masters Logistical, of Ely.

In total, since February 11, Mr Munns has organised 27 loads of sugar beet, straw, hay, carrots, potatoes, silage, stock feed and fodder beat.

The total value of the cargo has been more than £19,000, which has all been donated free of charge.

Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Left: Bart Woodbine Marketing Manager for Skylark garden centre,  Farmer George Munns, Edward Gowler, Farmers Lucy and Jane Munns. Picture: Steve Williams.Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Left: Bart Woodbine Marketing Manager for Skylark garden centre, Farmer George Munns, Edward Gowler, Farmers Lucy and Jane Munns. Picture: Steve Williams.

Diesel costs of almost £10,000 have been covered by the hauliers except for three loads which have been sponsored by local businesses or individuals.

The distance travelled so far by the convoys has been about 9,680 miles - the equivalent of Chatteris to Perth in Australia and 700 miles of the return trip.

When he saw the devastating effect the flooding was having in Somerset, Mr Munns felt he had to do something to help.

He spoke with his friend Andrew Wagstaff, of Whittlesey firm Johnson and Wagstaff, who provided an articulated lorry to carry down a load of sugar beet to Somerset on February 11.

Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Driver for Bretts Haulage Dean Ashton. Picture: Steve Williams.Hay pick up to take to Somerset farms from Skylark garden Centre, Wimblington. Driver for Bretts Haulage Dean Ashton. Picture: Steve Williams.

From there, Mr Munns has got other hauliers and farms involved, who have shared in his determination to support stricken farmers in need.

He said: “It has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

“The response and reception from the people in Somerset to the loads when they arrive is unbelievable. I’ve shed a few tears over it. It’s nice to think they appreciate it.

“At some point the farmers down there will need to stand on their own feet but for the moment we will keep on taking down loads.

“We are moving away from sending down food and will instead focus on taking down more straw loads.”

Marie Walters, a livestock farmer in Somerset, said: “We can’t thank the people of Fenland enough for the help and moral support they have given us over the last few months.

“The situation in Somerset was frightening and devastating. Without the support of you people we would have felt very much on our own. Thank you.”

If you would like to help the relief effort, you can give money at George Munns Somerset relief, Account Number 86627759,

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