In a heart-warming act of kindness, a farmer from the Midlands lambed an additional flock of sheep for a fellow farmer who was struck down with coronavirus.
David Newhouse, who farms in Malham, North Yorkshire, contracted Covid-19 days before his flock of 240 Cheviot Mules were due to lamb and was hospitalised, leaving wife Carol, also displaying symptoms of the virus, to lamb the flock alone.
Sam Stables, who farms 81 hectares on the Duchy Estate, Herefordshire, and has a flock of 380 sheep, is a long-standing family friend.
Concerned about the welfare of Mrs Newhouse, Mr Stables arranged a hauler from CCM Auction to transport some of the flock 200 miles south to lamb on his own farm to ease the pressure on the family.
Mr Newhouse said: “Despite having a weakened immune system and being seriously ill, I was reluctant to leave Carol to lamb the sheep on her own.
“We could not get outside help in due to the Covid-19 social-distancing restrictions. It was an incredibly stressful time for us all and I feel so humbled by Sam’s act of kindness.
“He deserves so much recognition for his selfless actions and I am really proud of him.”
Mr Stables said: “David and Carol took me under their wing as a teenager and I knew I had to do something to help them out when I heard David had been hospitalised.
“Together with Richard and Val Brown, Kirkby Malham, we organised 140 sheep to be gathered and transported to my farm in Herefordshire to lamb here.
“The sheep have done really well and I am glad David is alive and back at home on the farm recovering.”
Mr Stables is in the process of registering his mental health charity, We’re Farming Minds, to help tackle isolation among rural communities and signpost farmers to relevant services.
He said: “It is more important than ever to look after ourselves, and one another, mentally.”