Two charities dedicated to supporting the farming community have received a £74,000 donation from JCB as a result of a unique project. JCB Chairman, Lord Bamford, presented The Louise Hartley Memorial Fund with £50,000 and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) with £24,000, which was raised through the auction of a one-of-a-kind Loadall telescopic handler.

The 541-70 Agri Pro – featuring JCB’s DualTech VT hydro-mechanical transmission – was built by 68 JCB apprentices to highlight the value of apprentices and attract new talent. The donation was made possible through the generosity of long-standing JCB user Angus Wielkopoliski of Yorkshire Dairy Goats who was the highest bidder for the machine in an online auction.

“JCB’s apprentices worked as a team and did a wonderful job manufacturing this unique Loadall,” said Lord Bamford. “I am not only delighted that one of our long-standing customers has supported the charity auction, but that the £74,000 he paid is helping two such worthwhile charities connected with the farming community, of which we are such a close part.”

The Louise Hartley Memorial Fund was established in memory of the agricultural journalist who lost her life to cancer in 2016 at the age of just 24. Louise’s parents, dairy farmers Sarah and John Hartley, of Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: “Louise was passionate about farming and the fund was set up in her memory to help young people pursue their ambitions and dreams in the farming world.”

Paul Burrows, Chief Executive of RABI added: “Our charity offers financial support to farming people of all ages. “We have decided to use this generous donation to provide vital assistance to people with mental health problems, an issue which affects many of the families who approach us for support.”

The presentations brought to a successful conclusion the project which saw JCB’s young employees work across the company’s factories and departments over six months to manufacture the axles, gearbox, engine, hydraulics and cab of the Loadall. They also chose the colour scheme before it was assembled at the company’s World headquarters.

Yorkshire Dairy Goats managing director, Angus Wielkopolski added: “We already have three JCBs working on our 4,000-acre farm near to York. We were planning to buy another machine later this year, so when our dealers Wilfred Scruton told us about this special project, and especially the charity element, we decided to bring forward our plans.”