Published: 29 April 2024

A group of Welsh farmers have donated thousands of pounds to the all-Wales lifesaving charity after their club disbanded after 44 years.

At its peak North Wales Texel Breeders Club used to have over 80 members – but since 2020 the figures have been falling.

Chairman, Alwyn Phillips said: “We started in 1980, with the primary intention of providing an annual sale for members to sell both male and female sheep. We did that initially in the large marquee in Anglesey showground and then we went into Morgan Evans Auctions in Gerwyn.

“In addition to this we organised regular meetings which provided an opportunity for members to get together throughout the year, exchange ideas and listen to guest speakers from different sectors of agriculture.

“In the last four- or five-years membership has fallen off and, in the end, there was only about 25 of us, some were retired but kept their membership so we thought we would close the club down.”

He said the remaining members wanted to make sure any monies left over in the club bank account went to a good cause, with a particular emphasis on agriculture.

Alwyn continued: “Rather than send the money back to the national society we decided to share it with local charities in our community in North Wales.

“The most popular one was the air ambulance, because we are farmers living in isolated communities, we understand the importance of what the team does.”

Wales Air Ambulance is consultant-led, taking hospital-standard treatments to the patient and if required, transferring them directly to the most appropriate hospital for their illness or injury.

It is delivered via a unique Third sector and Public Sector partnership. The Emergency Medical Retrieval and Transfer Service (EMRTS) supplies highly skilled NHS consultants and critical care practitioners who work on board the charity’s vehicles.

Alwyn said: “By donating the £4,000 left in our bank account to the air ambulance, it’s our way of saying thank you for doing what they do to help those in need when they need it most.

“I know it’s not much, but the charity relies on donations like this to help keep it running. A lot of people don’t realise that, so we wanted to make sure it benefited from what was left over.

“Around here we see the air ambulance flying overhead a lot. Once it landed in my field because of an accident outside the farm here.

“I think it is vitally important for rural communities across Wales because they are so sparsely spread out and access to Ysbyty Gwynedd and the other hospitals is far away for many farms in the middle of Snowdonia.”

The Wales Air Ambulance Charity needs to raise £11.2 million every year to keep the helicopters in the air and rapid response vehicles on the road.

Wales Air Ambulance’s Head of Fundraising Mark Stevens said: “The charity is proud of its strong links with farming communities across Wales and we are grateful that North Wales Breeders Club kindly thought of us as it marks the end of an era.

“Wales Air Ambulance is a consultant-led service, and we need to raise a large sum of money each year to ensure we can continue getting to people facing life or limb-saving situations.

“We really depend on donations like this to help us achieve our target so we can continue to serve the people of Wales and save as many lives as possible –wherever and whenever we are needed.”