You never know when you may need us. That’s the message the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) gave to 50 guests at their farmhouse breakfast event at Winkworth Farm, near Malmesbury last week.

Jenni Thompson, RABI regional manager, said: “According to research in 2010, a quarter of farming families in the UK live on or below the poverty line.

“Three years later, in 2013 we received around 1,000 new requests for help - two-thirds more than in 2012, which just goes to show that although time moves on, needs certainly don’t.”

The majority of people helped by the charity are farmers, farmworkers or their dependants who have retired from the industry through age, illness or disability and are supported long-term.

However, last year almost a quarter of those helped – double the number in 2012 – were people of working age who were helped in an emergency.

RABI paid for things as varied as funeral costs, utilities and council tax bills, as well as shortfalls in housing benefits. It also gave cash to help people pay domestic bills and buy food.

The event raised more than £250 for the charity, a figure which could not have been achieved without the generous support of local businesses, in particular Melanie and Jeremy Newman who provided their beautiful Winkworth Farm venue, Philip Gilder of Manor Events who arranged the catering, and food suppliers who helped provided the bountiful breakfast including Sherston Free Range Eggs, Tracklements, Fruits Root and Shoots of Malmesbury and Thomas Butchers, Malmesbury.

Ms Thompson said: “We are extremely grateful to all who supported the event, both guests and businesses and look forward to welcoming them and their friends next year.”