A farmer in County Derry is selling artistic bales of straw, to raise money for Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.
Derek Ferson, from Moneymore in Co. Derry, and his family came up with the idea for a charity walk, “Jingle all the way” in aid of the hospice. They started the walk three years ago, experiencing significant success. The walk is free, though tickets are sold on the day at £2 each, for a raffle with a range of different prizes on offer.
“We started off with the walk for NI Children’s Hospice, as the family wanted to do something different for the charity.” said Derek.
“This is the third year it is running and if you look it up Liam Neeson actually filmed a plug for it...it was lovely” he added.
“Then I decided, as we are in a farming area and I work for a farming company, to go and do something with bales” he said.
He said he knew a lot of farmers in the area, which gave him the means to carry out the noble deed.
The Bales and the idea:
The family, Derek, his mother Emily and his brother Nigel, then came up with the idea to try and sell the painted bales for the charity. One local farmer, David Allen, donated the bales and even got them especially wrapped in white for the painting. Meanwhile, another, Noel Browne, offered the use of his sheds to he family to carry out the artwork.
“I asked him to get them done in white for me and he did”, said Derek.
The bales, Derek says, were used for the recent ‘Jingle all the way” walk on Saturday and says it was after that the family decided to put them up for sale for the charity.
“We want to get as much money as possible to go towards the hospice” he added.
They have had a few interested parties so far, though people have only offered the true value of the bales, approximately £30.
“We would like somebody to jump it up a wee bit and give us a bit more, as it’s for the only hospice care for children in Northern Ireland.” he said.
The idea for bale Rosie came from Derek's daughter Lily, while his son Zach helped out with the painting, making it a real family effort.
Why the Hospice:
The family chose the hospice, due to Derek’s mother becoming involved in it, and because the family could relate to those with small children. The family are planning further walks in the future, while Derek says if the interest is there this time round, the family will look to sell more bales in the future.
“We will do something like this and the walk for Santa this year. I might do more bales in the future….if people were interested and it was going to raise money for charity, I would definitely do it again” Derek concluded.
It is all for an excellent cause and if you would like to buy the "Silage Santa" and "Round Bale Rosie" bales, don’t worry, as they are still for sale. For anybody who may wish to purchase the bales for this noble cause, you can contact Derek on +447789277133.