More than a thousand people descended on North Lodge Farm, Widmerpool, Nottinghamshire, on Saturday 2 July for a spectacular Best of British picnic concert that has raised £70,000 for charities, including the UK's leading wildlife research charity, the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT).
The other organisations to benefit from the concert will be the Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance (L&NAA) and the Nottinghamshire NSPCC. The money raised will be divided equally between all three charities.
Chris and Julia Butterfield welcomed the crowds to their farm – a winner of the prestigious 2016 Purdey Award for Game and Conservation – in the beautiful Nottinghamshire countryside. The guests were conveyed to the concert field in a convoy of farm vehicles. The afternoon picnic was accompanied by stalls, stands and exhibits, including local crafts and produce, vintage and classic cars, tractors and steam engines, and even an appearance by the Air Ambulance ‘ambucopter’. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a heart-stopping aerobatics display by a Pitts Special.
Background music was provided by the Nottinghamshire Youth Jazz Orchestra, with dancing by the Sherwood Forrester Morrismen. There was a worrying moment when the wind rose to threaten the Best of British marquees, but within an hour a procession of tractors and grain trailers driven by local farmers had formed a massive windbreak and the picnic continued uninterrupted.
The best was yet to come as the evening from 7pm was dedicated to performances at a concert from ‘People’s Soprano’ Rebecca Newman and Brit Award winners Blake, accompanied by the 36-strong Ruddington Community Choir. The performers were welcomed by Ian Coghill, the GWCT’s Chairman of Trustees, and Karen Jobling CEO of the L&NAA, who appeared on stage with Jenny Farr of the Nottinghamshire NSPCC. Songs performed included Bridge Over Troubled Water, Hallelujah, You’ll Never Walk Alone, I Dreamed a Dream and Nessun Dorma.
During an interval Blake signed CDs, with the sale proceeds going to the charities, and the second half of the performance began with the prize draw for a brand new Kia Picanto donated by Sandcliffe Motors. This was won by Claire Felipes of Lincoln, who will be presented with her prize at North Lodge Farm later this month.
After a finale in which over fifty performers appeared on stage to give rousing renditions of Jerusalem and Land of Hope and Glory, the climax of the evening was a stunning firework display.
Chris Butterfield, who is a member of the GWCT's Nottinghamshire County Committee, said, ‘This has been a wonderful event with so many people pulling together to make it a success. This all came about after Julia and I had a chance meeting with Blake at a concert in Barbados in 2014. We saw an irresistible opportunity jointly to promote charities like the air ambulance – which flies over a thousand missions per year – and the great work done by the NSPCC and the GWCT.’
The money raised by this event for the GWCT will go towards their pioneering conservation science, which is dedicated to finding practical techniques for preserving the British countryside and wildlife for future generations. The epic undertaking took 18 months to plan but it can only be hoped that North Lodge Farm will play host to similar successful events in future.
The GWCT would like to thank Chris and Julia Butterfield for their generosity in hosting and organising the events, sponsors Evenbrook, Samworth Brothers, Multiyork, and Feather & Black, and all the others who contributed towards making the Best of British Concert such a wonderful experience.
For more information about GWCT Nottinghamshire events please contact Lottie Meeson on 07976 207113 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the GWCT please visit www.gwct.org.uk.
(1) The Best of British Concert raised £70,000 to be split equally between three charities (l to r): Andrew Smith and Matt Tipping (North Lodge Farm), Julia Butterfield, Vicky Williams (North Lodge Farm), Karen Jobling (L&NAA), Jenny Farr (NSPCC), Chris Butterfield, Ian Coghill (GWCT). Photocredit: © Sue Hartley.
(2) The climax of the Best of British Concert at North Lodge Farm was a spectacular fireworks display. Photocredit: Paul Musso.
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
ISDN radio broadcast line – at our Fordingbridge HQ we have an ISDN radio broadcast line, allowing us to conduct interviews remotely.
For information, contact:
Telephone: 01425 651000