March 12 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
The first consignment of sugar beet has left the yard of a Fenland farmer who teamed up with local hauliers to send 230 tonnes to help feed Somerset livestock threatened by the worst floods in living memory.
Cambridgeshire County Council tenant farmer George Munns, 52, posted a message of support for weather-hit farmers and called on other local businesses to help him get sugar beet to them.
Within hours the Chatteris farmer was overwhelmed by offers of support from hauliers Mick George, Roger Warnes, Knowles, Johnston and Wagstaffe, Hankins Transport and DJs Transport who backed his flood effort by donating lorries.
They are now helping transport the sugar beet to Bridgewater where it will be distributed to those most in need.
He `said: “Initially we are going to send three lorry loads and 70 tonnes but it looks like we will get 230 tonnes down now.
“It’s gone a bit mad really, but what a show of support, we were feeling sorry for ourselves that our fields were a bit wet but it is nothing compared to what those farmers are going through.”
He added: “We’ve got the sugar beet here and it just seemed a good idea to send some of it to Somerset, It is about giving for a change rather than receiving.”
His family firm L & EA Munns and Sons is co-ordinating the relief effort and have launched a Facebook campaign to widen support which has already won the backing of Philip Bradshaw of Whittlesey, a tenant farmer of the county council.
“Well done George,” he told Mr Munns. “I’ve been thinking about this all week. But you have actually done something.”
Mr Munns praised the work of Middle Level Commissioners in keeping the Fens dry.
He said: “They are committed local people, without them we could have a Somerset on our hands.”
Mr Munns looks after Westmoor Farm just outside of Chatteris where his family have farmed since 1959 when his parents Alice and Lionel took on a 21 acre smallholding and an old farmhouse.
They bought the farm after winning £100 on the pools and what they termed “extended credit from suppliers.”
The farm now comprises 500 acres and apart from arable crops it also supplies 300 outlets across the UK with its extra virgin cold pressed rapeseed oil.