A HORSE lover is hoping she can help farmers in flood-hit Somerset by donating bales of hay to help the rescue effort.
Sarah Braithwaite was moved by the story of Somerset farmer Jenny Winsland, who featured on the a radio programme telling how she had been forced to move her cattle to a livestock market to escape the rising floodwaters.
Sarah, of Nercwys, who works for horse nutrition company Forage Plus, is donating 18 large bales of hay to aid the situation in the South West.
Parts of Somerset, including the Somerset Levels, have been under water for weeks and have seen some of the worst conditions anywhere in the UK.
Yesterday The Environment Agency issued a severe flood warnings – which mean a risk to life – in Somerset, with The Met Office forecasting another “multi-pronged attack” of wind, rain and snow striking the country today.
In an effort to help people stranded in the worst of the West Country weather, The National Farmers Union Cymru and Farmers Union Wales (FUW) are encouraging farmers in Flintshire to reciprocate some of the goodwill they themselves received last year.
In March 2013, farmers in Flintshire received help from colleagues in other parts of the country when the county was hit by several feet of snow, crushing farm buildings and killing livestock.
Sarah hopes her efforts can help to set the ball rolling after enlisting the help of a haulier offering to transport her donated bales free of charge.
She told the Leader: “I have forage spare from some of my own horses.
“It is desperate to hear what some people are going through and I saw a chance to do something that would help.
“I contacted some hauliers and ABS Europe Ltd are going to transport the hay bales free of charge whenever it is needed.
“Hopefully other people can do the same and help make a difference to some of the affected farming communities in Somerset.”
The FUW has also appealed to Welsh farmers to offer any help or forage to farmers in Somerset hit by the floods.
FUW president Emyr Jones said: “Many Somerset farmers are suffering dire conditions and we have received requests from members asking what they can do to help, particularly after the support given by English farmers who co-ordinated a fodder bank for Welsh farmers in need during last year’s snow.
“I know many Welsh farmers are keen to repay the favour for fodder donations from English farmers last year so if anyone has fodder, transport or any other help to offer we would be happy to pass their details on to the help co-ordinators.”
The NFU in the South West is appealing to the rural community in other parts of the UK not to set off on fodder “treks” to help flood-stricken farmers and their stock in the region, but rather to pledge offers of fodder feed and straw by calling them on 01392 440700.
Mark Roberts, of NFU Cymru said he was pleased Sarah had taken up the call and added: “A little can go a long way.”
There is also a dedicated Just Giving website, set up for Welsh farmers last year, that has now reopened for Somerset farmers. To visit it go to uk.virginmoney giving.com/forageaid