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Spectacular success for NEMSA charity fund-raisers

Big hearted members of NEMSA – the North of England Mule Sheep Association - have netted some fabulous sums for charity at this year’s annual autumn sales at northern auction marts, several individual marts themselves supporting the cause, a number also staged with the support of The Mule Group.

Every single vendor who sold at the Kirkby Stephen’s main Mule gimmer lamb sale donated £110 towards their chosen charity, The Great North Air Ambulance Service, with a cheque for £6,000 presented to the service’s Deborah Gibbs.

In a letter to Kirkby Stephen Branch chairman, Ian Cousin, Dr Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Border, wrote: “The generosity of all those who took part in the charity sale of gimmer lambs is very commendable. The contribution by Harrison & Hetherington was a very generous gesture too. These funds will be very well received by the GNAA and will be used in helping those in need of the service in the remote areas they are so well placed to deal with.”

At the big two-day Hawes sale, the champion Mule gimmer shearling from Rugby Mart was kindly donated by Banbury’s Henry Tustain to be sold for Sepsis UK in memory of Cumbrian young farmer Hannah Brown, of Dutton, who died so tragically young earlier this year. It raised £1,000 when going to Raymond Heigh, of Bentham.

With charities nationally feeling the pinch due to the pandemic restricting fund-raising efforts, Leyburn Mart customers at various stages offered aid to The Yorkshire Air Ambulance and Sepsis UK via livestock sales and other donations, while at the annual gimmer lamb opener Tom Anderson, of Middleham, offered a single sheep to be sold for Sepsis UK, both again in Hannah’s memory. The latter fell to Chris Metcalfe and family, of Leighton, Masham, for £300.

At the Leyburn shearling/ewes sale, Ken Thwaites, of Leyburn, sold a single Texel-x shearling for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, which was bought firstly by David Ford, of Bedale, who re-offered the sheep, which then sold for £165 to West Burton’s Richard Dent.

Charity lambs were also donated by NEMSA members at Hexham’s opening sale, when two pens of six were put forward, with proceeds of £1,812 again going to the Great North Air Ambulance, the first selling to judge, Alan Smith, of West Shields, the second to annual buyer Dennis Jones, from North Radworthy in Devon.

GNAA was again the beneficiary when £1,160 was raised at Wigton Auction Mart, with all marts receiving high praise from the service for their efforts. A spokesperson said: “To enable us to continue to provide this service we must raise more than £5m each year. We couldn’t continue to operate without you. Your donations will impact on the lives of people right across the region. Last year we were called out 1,640 times.”

At Cockermouth, charity work was stimulated at the Mule shearling sale, with Thomas Hird, of Westray, donating two Suffolk gimmer lambs sold to Anthony Spencer, of Vicarage Farm, for £170 each. Anthony then put them back up for sale, this time making £140 each when purchased by Geoff Hird, of Westray. A fortnight later at the Mule gimmer lamb sale, John Ritson, of Baggra Yeat, donated his sale average of £150, while AG&KF Nicholson, of Swinside End Farm, also donated a Mule prime lamb which grossed £200.

All the above donations went to Martyn Mawson Memorial Fundraising, which supports four charities - The Great North Air Ambulance, Keswick Mountain Rescue Team, The Alzheimer’s Society and Prostate Cancer UK.

At Kendal, several vendors presented lambs to be sold in aid of a number of local charities, with a £1,000 windfall the end result, while at Tow Law various vendors donated lambs, with proceeds going to the “My name’5 Doddie Foundation.”

NEMSA’s national chairman, Cumbrian hill farmer Chris Harrison said: "The fund-raising efforts by the North of England Mule community, along with the support of auction marts and The Mule Group, are worthy of high praise. Their generosity has been amazing and has helped boost the coffers of these worthwhile charities who do such sterling work at both national and regional level."


Pictured at the Kirkby Stephen presentation are, from left, David Alderson, Vice-Chair Kirkby Stephen Branch, Mark Richardson, Richard Tiplady, Mark Jenkinson and Deborah Gibbs, Community Fundraiser for Great North Air Ambulance.

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