Young farmers have rallied round to help organise a clean-up operation in Somerset after floodwaters ruined homes and devastated farms in the region.
While most of the country was out enjoying the sunshine this weekend, eight kind-hearted young farmers had other plans.
They gave up their free time to help clear up flood-ravaged Battens Farm in Moorland, Bridgwater.
Cheryl Liddle, spokeswoman for the National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (NFYFC), said: “They were helping to clean up, move away debris, clear sheds and sweep up the farmyard.
“The farm owners are an elderly couple who were extremely grateful for their help.”
Floodwaters have started to recede on the Somerset Levels after record-breaking winter rainfall. But many homes are uninhabitable and farms have been left in a real mess.
See also: Flood-hit farmers – how you can help
Ed Ford, vice-chairman of Essex Young Farmers’ Club, has been helping to co-ordinate efforts to supply forage to flood-hit livestock farmers in the region.
He has visited the region three times since the relief effort began last month to meet farmers and see for himself how their businesses were coping.
He said heartbroken farmers have seen their fields and buildings devastated by the floods.
“Hedgerows are all full of straw, diesel tanks have capsized and there are films of diesel lying across water,” he said.
“Many farmers have moved their belongings upstairs to escape the floodwater, but the rats have gone upstairs as well. The smell is horrific. Some farms have had utter devastation.”
This weekend, Essex Young Farmers’ Club will send about 10 young farmers to help the clean-up operation in Somerset.
However, more volunteers are needed for manual cleaning tasks on farms and clearing farmland of debris.
For example, there are miles of hedgerows choked with strong, domestic and commercial refuse that will need to be hand-picked into skips.
NFYFC has set up a central email address where members can pledge their support for the clean-up and will work with Somerset to match offers of help to those in need.
The recovery team is looking for groups of four to eight people, who must all be aged 18 or over with a team leader (one or two car loads). All volunteers should have an up-to-date tetanus inoculation.
To pledge your support to the clean-up effort, including dates when you are available to help, email firstname.lastname@example.org