Margaret Barbour, chairman of the internationally renowned outdoor and country clothing manufacturers, J. Barbour and Sons Ltd, has announced that the Barbour Charitable Trust is to donate £250,000 to help those farmers and members of the countryside most severely affected by the foot and mouth crisis.

The charities that will benefit from a donation are the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution and the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution.

Barbour, a family owned private company, with its UK headquarters at South Shields in the North of England and a factory in Galashiels, Scotland, has its business heart at the centre of rural communities.

“We are deeply concerned at the plight of many during the current foot and mouth crisis and we are hopeful that our donation will be of some assistance to relieving the suffering of so many people,” said Mrs Barbour.

“The Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institutions are desperately in need of more staff to deal with the number of calls from those in distress. The problems are very severe as even on farms where there has not been slaughter, animals are running out of feed. Barbour has pledged to fund more full-time members of staff and more telephone lines.

Mrs Barbour continued: “The countryside community is fundamental to all that Barbour stands for and we believe that it is vitally important to preserve the fabric and traditional way of life in rural areas.

“We are acutely aware of the terrible anguish being suffered by many that live and work in the countryside and we hope that other businesses will follow our example and donate funds to alleviate some of the problems.”

Barbour is also considering the support of a public appeal which will ask people throughout the UK to donate funds to tackle the crisis.