Farmers’ snow fund tops £148K

Farmer Tom Brummit, from Hill Top Farm, Greeba, digging sheep out of the snow, helped by Stanley Quirk (yellow jacket) and Bobby Comish(red jacket)

Farmer Tom Brummit, from Hill Top Farm, Greeba, digging sheep out of the snow, helped by Stanley Quirk (yellow jacket) and Bobby Comish(red jacket)

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Donations by the public to the Snow Fund have topped £148,000, latest figures reveal.

And of that sum, £139,500 has already been distributed to farmers worst affected by this year’s heavy snowfall.

Appeals for the public to donate cash to the Isle of Man Agricultural Benevolent Trust were made after the island was hit at the end of March by the heaviest snowfall event in 50 years.

The death toll among livestock exceeded 15,000 including 6,800 sheep and 8,300 lambs. Now it has been revealed that the total amount raised so far by public donation to the Snow Fund has now reached £148,864. This has come as a result of contributions from individuals, companies, corporate bodies and organisations including a wide range of fund-raising activities.

Agricultural Benevolent Trust chairman Graham Crowe said the first cheque went out on April 8 and funds are still being distributed as referrals continue to come in. In total, £139,500 has been distributed so far with more committed and under consideration.

He said: ‘As we pledged at the time of the horrendous weather event in March, all these contributions have been ring-fenced within our accounts for distribution to the farmers who have been badly affected with livestock losses and damage to fences and buildings.

‘All the recipients will receive written confirmation that the monies advanced to them have been converted into grants, with no expectation of anything being repaid. Many of the recipients have asked us to convey their sincere gratitude to all those who have contributed in any way, and the gesture has been greatly appreciated.’

Mr Crowe added: ‘It has been an exceptionally busy time for the trust and I would like to express my thanks to the management committee who are all volunteers, and in particular to our treasurer and financial adviser Charles Fargher and his assistant Linda Taubman for all their hard work.

‘We would also like to advise those who have contributed to the fund that all this has been achieved without utilising a single penny of the donations on administrative costs which have been met by benefactors.’

Tynwald in July approved a support package for the worst-hit farmers which comprises a £1m loan fund and £600,000 available for grants.

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