‘The Gathering of the Greens’ has raised £500 for the Wales Air Ambulance through the sale of 50 hand-crafted farming-themed face masks.

‘The Gathering of the Greens’ is a group of John Deere Tractor enthusiasts who each year hold its annual tractor gathering at Parc Grace Dieu Farm, near Monmouth, courtesy of local John Deere dealer Frank Sutton.

For the past 10 years, the group has celebrated ‘everything John Deere in true Western-style’ and although this year’s plans had to be cancelled due to Covid-19 the group found another way to raise much-needed funds for the lifesaving helicopter charity.

The group thought creatively about what they could do to support the charity during the current pandemic, whilst at the same time producing something that would contribute to keeping people safe during these difficult times. At the start of the summer, there weren’t many pretty face masks available, so they worked together to make safe, affordable farming-themed masks.

Talented seamstress Lynne McLoughlin, from Newport, created the masks which were sold throughout the summer. The masks were purchased by friends of ‘The Gathering of the Greens’, and farmers from Monmouthshire and beyond.

Anna Sutton, who sourced the high-quality fabric, said: “The farming community are always glad to support the air ambulance in Wales, as we all acknowledge that working remotely in our fields and farms may require its services one day. We were also aware that with restrictions on outdoor events and social gatherings this year, this was affecting the charity's ability to raise the vital funds it requires to be operational.

“We produced approximately 50 masks and sold every one of them by the end of September, making £500. People were very generous and often commented that they were pleased to support the air ambulance. Thank you to all who supported the charity by purchasing masks which were on sale throughout the summer season.”

Mark Stevens, South and Mid Wales Fundraising Manager for the Wales Air Ambulance, said: “Thank you to everyone who is involved with the annual event ‘The Gathering of the Greens’. Although this year’s event was postponed, they took it upon themselves to find a creative and safe way to raise funds for our charity. The masks look great. Thank you to Anna, Lynne and everyone who purchased a mask. Your generosity is much appreciated.”

For more information visit www.parcgracedieufarm.co.uk or its Facebook page Parc Grace Dieu.