DEDICATED to the memory of Harry Steele, of Rowreagh Farm, Kircubbin, this year’s calendar, which once again features most of the contractors situated around the Newtownards Peninsula, aims to improve on the figure raised last year.
Amateur photographer Steven Evans, 31, from Kirkistown, created an agricultural calendar last year which raised £11,400 for the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, thanks not only to the farming contractors who contributed to the printing costs, but also the 1,000 people who bought a copy of the calendar from which every penny went to this worthwhile cause.
Steven wasn’t sure if he would return with a 2022 calendar, mainly due to the fact that he has returned to his job as an automatic greaser technician for Hi-Power, and being back at work has left him with little spare time when compared to the previous year spent on furlough.
The County Down man wasn’t sure if he would even get the chance to photograph the various contractors working the picturesque land on the banks of Strangford Lough.
Having clearly learnt so much about photography whilst capturing last year’s calendar images, a few of the contractors involved wouldn’t let-up until Steven agreed to do another one this year.
“The intention was to do maybe a few hundred calendars,” said the Kirkistown man. “For this year’s calendar, I wanted to vary the content when compared to last year’s. I wanted to include more farmers, more contractors, and more of their staff.
“I wanted to focus on the ‘Harvest Season’ – it’s not all brand new £300,000 machines, brand new tractors and trailers, or the latest and most up-to-date implements.
“There are tractors, harvesters and machines ranging from, at the time the pictures were taken, a few weeks old, to a combine harvester which was built in 1978.”
Plans were well underway when tragedy struck right at the heart of the community within which Steven was spending his spare time.
“A night at the end of August shook the local farming community to the core, when a young man that, no matter where you went, no matter who you spoke to, everyone had a great word of him. He was a young man who was never far from his father Samuel Steele.
“I always knew that if I saw Samuel, his side-kick was never far away, and of course, the thumbs up, the big wave and the big smile always was there. Sadly, after an evening at the end of August, everyone has lost a bright shining star of the future.”
Steven continued: “The family asked for donations towards the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, they chose the charity as something dear to them and something they wanted to see supported.
“So here we are… the 2022 Air Ambulance Northern Ireland Calendar that is dedicated to a young man who will always be very sadly missed by everyone.”
Grace Williams, Area Fundraising Manager for Air Ambulance NI, commented: “We are so inspired by the creativity and generosity we are seeing from the public across Northern Ireland.
“Steven Evans is a real inspiration, coming up with this unique fundraising idea, combining his passion of photography and the farming community with his support for his local Air Ambulance.
“As a service we rely heavily on charitable donations to keep the medical team in the air, delivering critical care to patients who have suffered trauma throughout Northern Ireland – without this type of support, the team simply couldn’t fly. Every single penny counts.”
The 2022 calendar will be available soon via Steven’s Facebook page as well as various farm and machinery shops, and is priced at £10, all of which goes to the charity.