THREE of Cumbria's best-loved charities have benefited from a whopping £59,000 thanks to the generosity of the county's farming community.

Tens of thousands has already been raised for worthwhile causes from the Farmers' Charity Auctions held over the past 35 years at Borderway Mart in Carlisle.

But the latest auction exceeded the last one held in 2014 by £17,000.

Members of the Farmers’ Charity committee, National Farmers Union and several auctioneers met for one final time to wrap up the auction held in January and hand over the monies split equally between the Heart Centre Cumberland Infirmary, the North Cumbria Stroke Fund, R.A.B.I and Life Education Cumbria.

The cheque handover was held at Walby Farm Park, courtesy of farmer Neil Milbourn, which organisers said was quite fitting as he’d kindly donated a BBQ for 100 people, which raised £2,800.

North Cumbria Stroke Fund, Nicola Martin commented “As a team we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the local farming community. The money raised will benefit stroke patients throughout Cumbria and will contribute to their rehabilitation to improve their quality of life. On behalf of the staff and patients on the stroke unit we would like to say a huge thank you to everyone involved. We are honoured to have been considered as a beneficiary."

Kerry Scott, Ward Manager at the Heart Centre said they were both surprised and delighted to receive such a huge amount for the Heart Centre. "The donation will be put towards the purchase of rotablation equipment which could make a significant improvement in the service we are able to provide patients with blocked or severely narrowed arteries.”

Regional Manager for Royal Agriculutral Benevolent Institute, Georgina Lamb said: “The amount raised at the charity auction was absolutely staggering. I am overwhelmed by all the time, effort and generosity dedicated to a truly fantastic day which I thoroughly enjoyed! There was something for everyone and I returned home to Halifax with five sacks of Cumbrian kindling! On behalf of RABI I would like to thank everyone involved for this tremendous donation, every penny will go towards supporting farming families in Cumbria where last year the charity spent over £75,000.”

The fourth chosen charity Coram Life Education representative Elizabeth Hall, Treasurer commented: “Life Education Cumbria is once again extremely grateful to the committee of the Farmers Charity Auction for selecting our work for support. The amount received will greatly assist the funding of visits to local Primary Schools where we help pupils make healthy choices for the future to ensure their well-being and safety in society where there are many risks facing them during their developing years.”

Nick Utting, Chairman of the Farmers’ Charity Auction, concluded: “As a committee we were overwhelmed by the support we have received. Thanks go to all the donors, bidders – whether successful or not – and to the NFU and 5 marts who came together to organise it - as well as the auctioneers who brought their gavels to the ring. Five years ago, we raised £42,000 so our aim was to exceed that figure this year but to top it by a whopping additional £17,000 is just an amazing feeling shared by us all. It was a privilege today to hand out these substantial cheques to each of the local and very worthy causes.”