When thinking of how best to drive around rugged terrain normally only two words come to mind. LAND and ROVER. Which is why B4RN applied to the inaugural Land Rover countryside bursary which was set up in partnership with The Princes Countryside Fund.

Update, photos of the delivery on our facebook page click here

As followers of the project will know, due to the nature of the deployment, most of the network is installed under and through farm land, the majority inaccessible to anything with less than four leg or four wheel drive. The B4RN team have got by, (just about), using spare farm vehicles, private vehicles and plain old (and young) leg power but it has not been ideal or easy, especially given the bad weather over the last 12 months.

Well the team will struggle no more after it was announced at the recent CLA Game Fair, Ragley Hall, Warwickshire that B4RN was one of the five first ever beneficiaries of the bursary and will receive a free loan of a Land Rover Freelander 2.

It goes without saying that this will be indispensable to the team for pulling the trailer full of kit to to the many locations around the B4RN area. As the network deployment will be going on into the winter the Land Rover will certainly be put through its paces. Look out for some videos over the next few months of the Freelander 2.

Many thanks to Tom Hartley from the team for his hard work in applying for the bursary.

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B4RN’s Tom Hartley, (front left) and the rest of the Land Rover Bursary winners with TV’s Phil Spencer, (rear right).

The official press release text from Land Rover is below and here is the link to the same on the Prince’s Countryside Fund site.

Land Rover and The Prince’s Countryside Fund today named their first ever successful candidates for the inaugural Land Rover bursary.

The Bursary serves to award the rising stars of rural Britain and recognise their efforts to revitalise British countryside communities. The Freelander 2, and the rest of the Land Rover family, is the natural choice for those who live and work in the Countryside, offering true capability and versatility to tackle all weathers and terrains.

The announcement was made at the CLA Game Fair at Ragley Hall, Alcester, Warwickshire, where candidates were officially congratulated by Land Rover ambassador, TV presenter and journalist Phil Spencer, a fellow Land Rover driver and countryside supporter. In total five successful candidates were chosen, with each receiving a year’s loan of a Land Rover Freelander 2 as part of the bursary.

Applicants for the scheme had to undergo a rigorous selection process comprising an initial application, character references and interview, as well as demonstrating that the use of a Freelander 2 for a year would enable them to support their rural community. The successful candidates were those that exuded community spirit, exhibited a genuine need for a Freelander 2 and were the most likely to use the Bursary to make a long-term, positive difference to the community around them.

The successful candidates were named as:

1.Sian Curley – Firewood social enterprise – Ullapool, Ross-shire

2.Thomas Hartley – Rural broadband – Hornby, Lancaster

3.Edward Richardson – Farm outreach worker – Penzance, Cornwall
4.James Rebanks – Herdwick sheep farmer – Penrith, Cumbria
5.Mark Curr – Farmer and chairman of Cumbria YFC – Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

Sian Curley, who runs a community-owned firewood business based in Ullapool, North-West Scottish Highlands, applied to the Land Rover Bursary scheme for help delivering wood to the local community. The only employee of Lochbroom Woodfuels, wholly owned by the Ullapool Community Trust, Sian serves a remote and sparsely populated area where people suffer fuel poverty with ever-rising energy costs.

The scheme sources timber from sustainably managed local forests and provides fuel to customers at a fair cost. Sian did not have a vehicle suitable for delivering logs, so the worst hit in the community – those without access to a trailer or pick-up – were missing out. Her new Bursary Freelander 2 will solve these problems.

Sian commented, “I feel so privileged to be one of the first ever candidates to receive The Prince’s Countryside Fund Land Rover Bursary. Living in the remote Highlands means a rugged and reliable off-road vehicle is really a necessity for my job, and as I was without one my local community was missing out too. I am exceptionally grateful to all involved and can’t wait to get behind the wheel.”

All bursary winners will document their progress and the positive effect of the Freelander 2 on their business and their community via video diaries over the next 12 months.

Laura Schwab, Marketing Director of Land Rover UK, said: “We are delighted to be have been able to announce the successful candidates today and are sure that the Freelander 2 they receive will make a dramatic difference to their projects. Having reliable and
dependable transport to work in the countryside is essential and we are excited to see what the coming year brings for them.

Victoria Harris, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund said “The Prince’s Countryside Fund was set up to support the people who live and work in the countryside. We had some outstanding entries for the Bursary and heard some very inspiring stories and are sure that those candidates we have selected will go on to make a difference in their rural communities”.

Land Rover announced in January 2013 a three-year partnership with The Prince’s Countryside Fund. The partnership involves the support of rural communities and offers help to people living in the countryside dedicated to building a sustainable future in these locations.

4 Comments

  1. You are now WORLD FAMOUS thanks to the BBC radio World service.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01f2xfn

  2. Well done, Tom (and b4rn) – we’re proud of you and your colleagues. So, much so that we are considering making a loan to ease b4rn ‘over the hump’.

    • Hi Norman – a loan would be a wonderful help – thank you! If you email me on m.lee@b4rn.org I can send you all the details of what is available. all the best, Monica

  3. Whoohooo the freelander has landed – photo album starts today here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.494106724029824.1073741862.105319176241916