RORY STEWART MP HAILS ‘CORNERSTONE’ COMMUNITY RURAL CRIME INITIATIVE

Rory Stewart MP was delighted to award runners-up and winners of the
Country Watch Eden official logo competition at Appleby Grammar School
last week, where he handed out certificates to overall winners Hamish
Donnelly and Sasha Parkin from the school’s Year 7. The pupils’ two
logos have been amalgamated to create the image which will be used on
all Country Watch Eden merchandise.

Country Watch Eden is an NFU and Cumbria Constabulary-led rural crime
prevention initiative which primarily aims to tackle the increasing
problem of sheep theft in eastern Cumbria – a crime Appleby NFU group
secretary Amanda Wallbank says devastates her farming members both
financially and emotionally. Sharing intelligence about rural crime is
integral to the success of the scheme, with farmers and police
officers already communicating with each other regularly on social
media sites such as Facebook via the Country Watch Eden page. A
network of sheep farmers including Alan Alderson of Barras Farm in
Kirkby Stephen and Will Patterson of Coupland Beck Farm in Appleby
also regularly invite police officers onto their farms to learn about
the livestock industry, the yearly cycle of sheep production and the
language and terminology used by the county’s sheep farmers.

Rory Stewart said: “Country Watch Eden is a fantastic programme, and I
am so pleased to see the Appleby Grammar School students so involved
in the initiative which brings together the school, the NFU and
Cumbria’s police. It’s also a great way to educate the local community
about the livestock industry to a point where they’d notice if
something criminal or suspicious was taking place. Rural crime is such
a serious issue and we are only going to address it thoroughly through
a community approach. Initiatives like this are the cornerstone of our
countryside and what makes us proud of rural Britain. I thought Hamish
and Sasha’s winning designs were brilliant, and I think they deserve
this great accolade for their creative talents.”

NFU Appleby Group Secretary Amanda Wallbank helped set up the scheme.
She said: “With 400 Facebook users and the scheme’s profile really
taking off locally we decided it was time to have a logo. As the
initiative is there for everyone in the local community, we thought it
would be a great idea to allow the children of Appleby Grammar School
to create a logo we hope will become a recognisable image in their
lives.”

Twelve pupils who had designed logos out of core school time were
confirmed as finalists – winning a trip to Will Patterson’s farm, a
fleece with the winning logo on and a certificate. The two winners
also received £25 Amazon vouchers.

Head of Appleby Grammar School’s Year 7, Sam Rowan, added: “This
project has really grabbed the imagination of the children. Using the
NFU logo we spent some time with the pupils discussing the importance
and significance of branding. In total we had 35 entries to the
competition which is a great response. Some of the children have had
personal experience of rural crime or have farming backgrounds, so I
think this project is very close to their hearts.”

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