SODDEN: Many field across Teesdale have been turned into quagmires due to the high level of rain throughout February							              TM pic
SODDEN: Many field across Teesdale have been turned into quagmires due to the high level of rain throughout February TM pic

CIARA, Dennis, rain, snow, more rain – when will it end?

It’s at times like this I feel relieved we’ve left the farm and moved into Barney. Who’d be a farmer now?

My husband, ever the masochist, is helping a friend out with lambing but at least he can leave when he likes and come home at night.

The fields aren’t just mud, they are more like slurry; walking through them is the least of the problems.

Nothing is growing and there is nowhere to put the ewes with their new lambs.

Feedstocks are low and as for bedding, there was always going to be a shortage of straw after last summer. However, it’s needed more than ever.

Despite the problems we are luckier than many, in that we have escaped the worst of the weather.

Spare a thought for those poor souls in Shropshire and of course the Derbyshire farmer who rescued her sheep from chest high waters – the pictures went viral on social media.

It’s at times like these when RABI comes into its own.

We’ve been fast-tracking emergency grants to flood victims using simplified forms.

We are here to help those who work on the land and who are suffering hardship through no fault of their own.

There are many factors that force people to turn to us for assistance besides bad weather.

It might be unexpected illness or an accident which can impinge hugely on someone’s ability to work and earn.

In such circumstances, we often help with hospital transport costs, specially designed vehicles or items of furniture – things which are needed to greatly improve quality of life, but not necessarily provided by the NHS or social services.

There’s a lot going on locally over the next few months to raise money for RABI.

Tickets for a curry and quiz night at Babuls, in Barnard Castle, at the end of this month sold out within 48 hours, but there is a golf day at Headlam Hall on May 20 and a summer quiz at the Summerhouse Village Hall on June 5. Other fundraisers are in the pipeline.

A little further afield, I will be going to Alnwick for a beef dinner and attending a farmhouse breakfast event at Thirsk Mart on March 27.

Much of the money made at these events is spent locally, augmented by sponsorship and support from businesses such as Barclays.

If you, or anyone you know, has been badly affected by the weather please give us a call on 0808 2819490. We’ll do our very best to help, in complete confidence.