How fieldsports is helping the NHS and carers

Since the coronavirus crisis started, the fieldsports community and farmers have been reaching out to help people with everything from free meat to moral support for the National Health Service.

Check out the video below to see what we mean:

Staff from several moorland estates in the Lammermuir and Moorfoot hills have donated 470 safety glasses to NHS Borders, according to the Southern Reporter. The donation was organised by members of the Southern Uplands Moorland Group. Wilson Young, the boss of Eskdale Shooting Services added 100 protective face shields to the shipment handed over to medics at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

The donations, worth more than £2,0000, were organised by Craig Dickman, head gamekeeper at Burncastle Estate and handed over to NHS Borders shift worker Pam Kennedy.

“We just felt they could be put to good use,” the paper quoted him as saying.

Is there light at the end of the lockdown tunnel? Of course, especially if you’re in the mood for online competitions and raffles.

Enforcer Decoys is running a £1/ticket raffle for its pigeon-decoying products. Tickets available on its Facebook page here.

There are more competitions from: John Rothery, Jack Pyke, The Shooting Diary

The Shooting Diary had held three raffles to raise money for NHS staff and volunteers, hitting more than £10,000. The father and son Instagramers are raising money for the NHS.

Facebook group British Pigeon Shooting has raised more than £6,000 for the NHS via raffles and auctions.

British Pigeon Shooting admin Sean Anderson is raffling days in the pigeon hide, goose flighting and deerstalking

Following a plea from local NHS facilities struggling to secure vital protective eyewear, shooting estates in the Yorkshire Dales arranged to provide hundreds of pairs of protective glasses to 16 local surgeries. Full story in the Northern Echo.

Keepers from the Spaunton Estate in the North York Moors also donated safety glasses to a care home in Castleton. The goggles were delivered by George Thompson.

George Thompson from Spaunton Estate delivering the safety gogles.

George Thompson from Spaunton Estate delivering the safety goggles.

The Country Food Trust continues its efforts to provide healthy game meat to food banks:

Holland & Holland has also been helping out, cooking “delicious sausage rolls and sweet potato soup” for Rickmansworth firefighters and nurses at Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood, as well as game-tikka and rice which the charity H4All distributed to the company’s “vulnerable neighbours”. Meanwhile, in the North-East, Barbour clothing has turned its manufacturing over to producing protective clothing for healthworkers.

Elsewhere, moorland managers across Scotland and the north of England have been on-call to put out fires on neighbouring unmanaged moorland. In their spare time, they have come up with some creative ways to show appreciation for medical workers.

Gamekeepers in the Scottish Borders are showing their respect for health workers by mowing the letters ‘NHS’ into a hillside. Headkeeper Jamie Goodall and Tom Wilson at Greenlaw Moor realised how much busier the roads near their ground had become with emergency vehicles during the Covid-19 crisis. While carrying out agreed heather cutting, the pair were spotting 8 or 9 ambulances at a time and decided to express their support for the passing crews. At this time of year, the gamekeepers would normally have been carrying out legal muirburn. However, the dry weather meant their estate had voluntarily stopped muirburning on 26 March. The gamekeepers applied to Scottish Natural Heritage for a derogation to cut 20 acres of heather, instead, on the protected moor site, with stands of rank heather becoming a fire hazard in the warmer Spring weather. Read the story on ITV News.

Other foxhunters have risen to be challenge. Hunt supporters have been working alongside other volunteer seamstresses in the village of Wambrook in Somerset, after a call to help make headbands and large laundry bags for Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton. Thirteen-year-old Issy Perry volunteered to help after she saw an email from her village email group requesting assistance. She then responded by sending out a plea for further assistance through the Cotley Hunt’s email network. Four more volunteers from the hunt have joined the original group of six from the village.

Issy Perry from the Cotley

Cork Air Ambulance is Ireland’s first donation-supported medical helicopter service. It has flown over 351 missions in just under 8 months since it began operating the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service. Galtee Foxhounds has raised £1,000s for it with a special appeal during lockdown. Thanks to Rob Stewart for this story.

According to Horse & Hound, the hunting community has provided transport and free livery for horses and ponies owned by London-based Vauxhall City Farm, and used for Riding for the Disabled Association clients.