Two charities dedicated to supporting the farming community have received a £74,000 donation from JCB as a result of a unique project.

JCB chairman, Lord Bamford, presented The Louise Hartley Memorial Fund with £50,000 and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) with £24,000, which was raised through the auction of a one-of-a-kind Loadall telescopic handler.

The 541-70 Agri Pro – featuring JCB’s unique DualTech VT hydro-mechanical transmission – was built by 68 JCB apprentices to highlight the value of apprentices and attract new talent.

The donation was made possible through the generosity of long-standing JCB user Angus Wielkopoliski of Yorkshire Dairy Goats who was the highest bidder for the machine in an online auction.

Lord Bamford said: “JCB’s apprentices worked as a team and did a wonderful job manufacturing this unique Loadall.

“I am not only delighted that one of our long-standing customers has supported the charity auction, but that the £74,000 he paid is helping two such worthwhile charities connected with the farming community, of which we are such a close part."

The Louise Hartley Memorial Fund was established in memory of the agricultural journalist who lost her life to cancer in 2016 at the age of just 24.

Louise’s parents, dairy farmers Sarah and John Hartley, of Clitheroe, Lancashire, said: “Louise was passionate about farming and the fund was set up in her memory to help young people pursue their ambitions and dreams in the farming world.

“The £50,000 donation will enable the fund to award a significant number of bursaries and help many young people to progress in their farming careers, so we are very grateful to both JCB and Yorkshire Dairy Goats for their kindness and generosity.”

Paul Burrows, chief executive of RABI added: “Our charity offers financial support to farming people of all ages.

“We have decided to use this generous donation to provide vital assistance to people with mental health problems, an issue which affects many of the families who approach us for support.”

The presentations brought to a successful conclusion the project which saw JCB’s young employees work across the company’s factories and departments over six months to manufacture the axles, gearbox, engine, hydraulics and cab of the Loadall. They also chose the colour scheme before it was assembled at the company's world headquarters.

It was first unveiled during National Apprenticeship Week last year to highlight the individuals working in the company's apprenticeship programme and generate an interest in attracting new talent for the future. The unique telescopic handler was also produced to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the Loadall, a machine which revolutionised the lifting and placing of loads on farms and construction sites.