The Lewdown Young Farmers Club spent the weekend collecting real used Christmas trees to donate to a local goat farm - raising over £1,000 for their two chosen charities in the process.

The Young Farmers group first came up with the idea of raising money for their chosen charities by collecting people’s Christmas trees last year, when not everyone living in the borough qualified to have theirs collected by the council. Following the success of the scheme, the young farmers ran it again to even greater popularity this year.

Club secretary Jordan Martin, who was out collecting trees all day on Saturday and Sunday, said: ‘We saw a post from Beech Meadow Farm in Northlew asking for any unwanted trees to be donated and, after discussing it together, we asked if they’d take people’s trees if we collected for them and it went from there. This year we collected 175 used trees, all of which have been given to the farm. It’s an easy way of recycling because not everyone can have theirs taken away by the council and it’s great fun for us. Some of us collected trees for one day and others on both - we finished at half past six on both days we were so busy.

‘We put the word out last month through Facebook, and after last year, people quickly got in touch to book their slot. Before the weekend even arrived, we were already fully booked, which was a great sign; we expected more this year anyway. We asked people to give a minimum £5 donation, having explained that all the money we raised would be going to both the Farming Community Network and the North Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team which are our chosen charities for the year. Some people gave really generous donations.’

Trees were taken to Holsworthy square and/or collected from people’s homes in locations such as: Launceston, Lifton, St Giles on the Heath, Lewdown, Bratton Clovelly, Bridestowe, Okehampton, Folly Gate, Northlew, Hatherleigh Halwill Junction and Holsworthy.

Jordan added: ‘The goat farm was really grateful and said they had some very happy goats! They told us the trees would act as sustenance for the goats until at least April, as they eat the pines and bark. We’re still collecting our final donations but we’ve raised about £1,000 so far which is great. We’d love to do it again next year too.’

The young farmers prioritised choosing charities which were local and/or had the most significant influence. In addition to helping the Search and Rescue Team, the FCN supports farmers with a range of things such as paperwork, building relationships with bank managers, acting as family mediators and even supporting farmers through legal issues and has even helped members of their club individually.

Club members are now looking forward to an upcoming tractor run event, another game of ‘blind drop’ at the end of this month in Winkleigh and Easter bingo in April.