BIG-hearted members of NEMSA – the North of England Mule Sheep Association - have netted some huge sums for charity at this year’s annual autumn sales at northern auction marts.

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.

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 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 Dufton, who died so tragically young earlier this year. It raised £1,000.

With charities nationally feeling the pinch due to the pandemic restricting fundraising 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.

GNAA was again the beneficiary when £1,160 was raised at Wigton Auction Mart. A GNAA 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 the Mule shearling sale saw Thomas Hird, of Westray donating two Suffolk gimmer lambs which sold for £170 each. The buyer then put them back up for sale, this time making £140 each. 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.

NEMSA’s national chairman, Cumbrian hill farmer Chris Harrison said: "The fund-raising efforts by the NEMSA community, along with the support of auction marts and The Mule Group, are worthy of high praise."