Lincolnshire Rural Support Network

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LRSN's AGM, reception and charity auction raises £16,153!

LRSN raised a record-breaking £16,153 at it's AGM, reception and charity auction held on Monday 14 October.

More than 150 friends, volunteers and guests gathered at the Epic Centre, Lincolnshire Showground for the event, the largest ever held. Our master of ceremonies for the evening was, of course, the wonderful Sean Sparling and the guest speaker this year was Director of the Prince's Countryside Fund, Claire Saunders.

Drinks, and canapes by Becky Miller, were served to the crowd who's generosity began as the wonderful raffle prizes were perused. Tickets sold by Heather, Sandi and Roy made an enormous total of £1105 - breaking the £1000 barrier for the first time ever.

LRSN chairman, Meryl Ward welcomed everyone and a minute's silence was observed for our dear friend David Creasey who died in December. He is missed by everyone and Sean's moving poem "Rhythms" evoked many memories of David's immense contribution to LRSN and to Lincolnshire farming.

Meryl Ward's chairman's report mentioned some of the many projects and events that LRSN staff and volunteers have been involved in this year - from the Prince's Farm Resilience Programme, the Wainfleet floods, shows and events across the county, fundraising events, including the Charity Golf Day with partners Woldmarsh, our many supporters and donors, the Peacock and Binnington LRSN tractor and the drive to fund a second agricultural chaplain in the county. Click here to read our annual report and full details of our 2018 - 2019 activities.

Gilly Steel, LRSN's newest staff member joined us in September as our Health and Wellbeing Lead and Meryl welcomed her to her first AGM. LRSN's treasurer Charles Holt reported on an enhanced surplus for the charity, despite increased running costs. A copy of LRSN's annual accounts can be found here.

Here are a few of the photographs from the evening:

Alison Twiddy's address brought the meeting up to date with LRSN's plans to expand our casework capabilities by encouraging more volunteers with suitable experience to join us. Her themes of "heart", "jigsaw" and "signpost" brought together the LRSN annual reports from the last three years. 

Next to the microphone was Lizzie Clough, who with her husband Martin is one of the participants in the Princes' Farm Resilience Programme, which LRSN coordinates in Lincolnshire. Lizzie spoke of the benefits of being part of the programme to their farm business, including benchmarking, a change in cattle nutrition policy and of course, the great biscuits provided at the training sessions.

Claire Saunders then gave her address. She spoke of the work of the Prince's Countryside Fund, in particular, its aims and work to encourage and increase the resilience of the country's family farms. The Fund has produced a Village Survival Guide and since its inception in 2010, has provided more than 250 grants totalling over £10 million to rural organisations, individuals and projects. She was thanked, and presented with a Cotehill Cheese hamper, by Rev Canon Alan Robson (see below).

The highlight of the evening, was, as ever, the charity auction, which this year attracted 36 lots, raised £12,070 (!) and was ably run by our lovely friend Mike Perkins of Perkins, George Mawer & Co auctioneers, valuers and estate agents of Market Rasen. Mike conducted the auction with his usual high good humour and much banter and was rewarded with some incredible bids. The evening's total of over £16,000 also comprised more than £2000 in donations as well as the raffle and auction.

LRSN is grateful to everyone who supported the event, especially the two event sponsors, The Lincolnshire Agricultural Society and Springfields House Association, to all the organisations who exhibited on the night and to all our guests for their generosity and continued support. And of course, a huge round of applause for all our volunteers, without whom LRSN would not achieve so much. Thank you, everyone!