Charity ball organiser receives special award

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A Buckingham woman has won a national award for her fundraising efforts on behalf of the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI).

Melanie Abbott helps organise the Bucks County Farmers’ Ball, a highlight of the farming social calendar which has raised £120,000 for the farming charity since 2000.

She collected the South Central regional award at RABI’s annual awards ceremony and AGM in Oxford.

Last year, RABI gave out grants of about £1.9 million to farming people in hardship and helped people claim more than £39,000 in state benefits and tax credits.

The charity, formed by Essex farmer John Mechi in 1860, gave out emergency grants of about £88,000 to flood victims in the north of England at the turn of the year.

It has more than 50 county committees across England and Wales who work at grass roots level to raise funds and awareness for the charity.

Melanie said: “I am absolutely speechless but it’s a big team effort. The ball has been going for 93 years and attracts 500 to 600 guests per year.”

RABI chief executive Paul Burrows said: “These awards provide an opportunity to recognise some of the incredible people who do so much to help others. Committees are the lifeblood of RABI and we very much value the time and effort that people dedicate to supporting us.”