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How the charitable trust helps Guild Members

Thanks to on-going fund-raising activities and individual initiatives, the Charitable Trust’s capital fund continues to grow and generate interest which can be drawn on to help Members and their families when they fall on hard times.

The aims of the Trust are simple:

  • The relief of poverty of members and former members of the British Guild of Agricultural Journalists, their partners, families, dependants, and other applicants from the agricultural and horticultural media.

Assistance may take the form of:

  • Cash payments to cover essentials such as food, electricity and gas bills.
  • Financial help for retraining or other educational purposes.
  • Funds to help with the purchase of essential equipment, eg camera, computer, etc.

In recent years, the Trust has helped a number of the Guild’s older members who faced financial or health difficulties, and one of the Guild’s younger members, a freelance who developed a serious illness and needed surgery, which left him unable to earn a living for some months.

Rest assured, all requests for help are held in strict confidence. Should you wish to apply for assistance, please contact BGAJ Secretary Nikki Robertson or Trust Chairman Stephen Howe on 01342 893018 or 07802 548552  or email

Normally, such assistance is provided on a strictly confidential basis, but freelance machinery writer Mick Roberts felt it important for members to understand the value of the support he received via the Trust when he fell seriously ill. In a letter to the Trust he wrote:

“Very many thanks for contacting me regarding the GAJ Charitable Trust and sending the cheques. I wonder how many colleagues, like me, read your leaflet and filed it away thinking ‘thank goodness I won’t be needing that!’

I am now, at last, really starting to feel I am recovering from my operation. While I am beginning to appreciate the seriousness of my illness and the need for emergency surgery, it doesn’t make me any less keen to get ‘back to normal’. However, as you quickly realised and my doctors have pointed out, this is going to take much (much) longer than I would like!

I cannot say how much I appreciate the Trust’s help. The illness is bad enough without the worry about money. It’s quite a surprise to see how quickly normal family life consumes our savings (for this ‘rainy day’). While I do have income and illness insurance, these don’t pay out unless I am virtually dead or off sick for months and months! It is prohibitively expensive to do otherwise.

This is why the GAJ Trust payments were so helpful.  I wish you could have seen my wife’s face when she opened the envelope and saw the cheque.  So many, many thanks again for your help – we are very grateful.”

Mick Roberts

Fund Raising and Sponsorship

The original 1993 start-up sum of £3000 has grown considerably over the years thanks to the fund-raising efforts of members, friends and colleagues. The late Peter Bullen, Guild Chairman 1993-94, who originally conceived the idea of the Trust, ran the London Marathon on six occasions and former Trust committee chairman Arthur Anderson undertook a 180-mile sponsored walk from the Thames Barrier to the source of the Thames.

Former Charitable Trust chairman Arthur Anderson at the Thames Barrier about to start his sponsored walk to the source of the river.