Brewin Dolphin staff in Devon and Cornwall love a challenge. Having chosen Farms for City Children as their annual charity, they weren’t going to let a pandemic stop them from fundraising. The question was, what to do and how to do it?

The answer came in the shape of a carrot. Unusual but these are unusual times. Appropriate too. Farms for City Children is all about introducing young people living in urban areas to the wonders of the great outdoors and growing vegetables is part of that experience.

Investment managers often spend their days looking at computer screens and analysing figures, so exercise is important. Keen to make the most of their rural surroundings, the 32-strong team decided on a virtual carrot relay from the charity’s farm at the tip of the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales, via their other farm on the River Severn and their third farm near Okehampton to Brewin Dolphin’s Cornish office in Truro. A total distance of 618km.

Each participant chose how far they wanted to go and by what means – resulting in a fun carrot-carrying combination of walking, running, horse-riding, cycling and swimming. Some managed 5km, others 10km and one achieved an incredible 74km.

The pandemic has made it even more important for children who have been cooped up for months in cities to enjoy the countryside once government guidelines permit,” said Exeter-based Brewin Dolphin assistant director Rhiannon Bates, who co-organised the event. “I walked 10k pushing my baby son in his buggy. He managed to sleep most of the way – leaving my partner and I to do all the hard work! It was lovely to get out in the fresh air, though, and for such a good cause. The charity really does change lives and everyone taking part wanted to do as much as they could to help.”

Founded by Sir Michael Morpurgo and his wife Lady Clare, Farms for City Children provides week-long opportunities for young people, many of them disadvantaged, to live and work in the countryside. Thousands have benefited from the experience over the years – staying on a working farm and learning a range of new skills.

“Everyone at Farms for City Children is so grateful to Brewin Dolphin for getting behind the charity at this challenging time,” said Sir Michael Morpurgo. “The Carrot Relay was a fun way for Brewin Dolphin staff and their families to raise much needed funds and enjoy the benefits of the great British countryside in the same way as the children who visit our farms do. It is only with the help of supporters, like Brewin Dolphin, that we can continue to maintain our three heritage farms so that we will be ready to welcome children back for a week in wellies once restrictions are lifted. Our sincere thanks to everyone involved.”

To date, the event has raised about £1,500 in online donations, with Brewin Dolphin match funding increasing the total to at least £2,500. Whilst pandemic restrictions are still in place, the money will be used to help fund land and building maintenance, care of livestock and key staff retention until the children’s return.

To donate, visit the JustGiving website.