Suffolk Freemasons have come together to donate £1,000 to the Suffolk Punch Trust. The register charity breeds Suffolk Horses and the breed is in serious danger of dying out unless urgent and rapid action is taken
The timing was spot on when a request for help and support was received by Ruffy Ruffles, the Vice Chairman of the Suffolk Masonic Clay Shooting Society, who received a letter from Andrew Fane, the Chairman of the Trustees of the Suffolk Punch Trust.
Accordingly, the Trust has announced it has launched a programme for artificial insemination. Andrew Fane said: 'It is a complex and high-level skill directly controlled by our vet and it will have a critical mid-term bearing on the success of Punch breeding not just in this country but overseas too. It is clearly backed by veterinary science as well as breeding line histories.'
Ruffy’s interest was aroused and he decided to talk to Suffolk's Immediate Past Deputy Provincial Grand Master John Rice who agreed to lend his support. John swept in a number of other like-minded, interested people and a campaign team was created. Its express purpose is to raise funds to pass on to the Trust to support its AI campaign.
At a recent quarterly ‘Cousins’ Luncheon’ Ruffy, on a personal level, described the plan to his relations and £40 was immediately subscribed to open the necessary bank account. Such is the love of Suffolk people for their very own breed of horse which delivered so much to huge numbers of people over the many years before the tractor came on the scene.
Once plentiful across much of England, the health of the Suffolk Punch population was badly dented during World War One, when thousands died attempting to haul heavy artillery towards the trenches. While their numbers steadily recovered during the 1920s, the introduction of tractors saw another steep decline from the 1960s onwards with the breed now considered to be the rarest horse in Britain.
Ruffy said: ‘Suffolk Horses were sent and worked on farms around the world. Thousands enjoyed them and had great benefits. Therefore, everyone is invited to join us and to help because we hope to attract support from across the country, throughout the Commonwealth and around the world.’