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Last Updated: Friday, 30 June 2006, 06:52 GMT 07:52 UK
Pair raise 800,000 to save farm
Charlotte and Ben Hollins

A brother and sister have raised more than 800,000 to save the farm that has been in their family for 100 years.

Ben and Charlotte Hollins have sold thousands of shares in a charity that will buy the land at Fordhall organic farm near Market Drayton in Shropshire.

The charity will then lease it to the pair, who follow organic techniques their father began 65 years ago.

Mr Hollins, 21, thanked everyone who had helped. "It means everything to me and Charlotte to succeed," he said.

Land prices

The initiative was set up to allow the pair to bypass what they described as the largest barrier to new and young people into farming - the price of land.

Mr Hollins manages the livestock on the farm and runs the farm shop while his sister does the book-keeping and the fundraising.

I really think they're doing a fantastic job here
Prunella Scales, actress and shareholder

Miss Hollins, 24, said they had hoped that when they set up the charity in October 2005 that members of the public would get involved.

"It isn't about the financial rewards, it is about the issues the farm represents," she said.

"People have been buying into supporting these issues."

More than 5,000 people bought the 50 shares in the Fordhall Community Land Iniative, among them singer Sting, actress Prunella Scales and television farmer Jimmy Doherty.

Ms Scales said: "I'm very proud to be a shareholder, I think it's an inspiring place.

"I really think they're doing a fantastic job here and I look forward to learning more about it and hearing how it develops."


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