By Debbie James

Family and friends of a Pembrokeshire dairy farmer who died in tragic circumstances after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease have raised nearly £20,000 to fund research into the condition.

Andrew Joules had been farming at Castell Y Gwcw, Llandeloy, with his wife, Kathy, and parents, Geoffrey and Agnes, when he had the diagnosis.

Since his death in March 2018, several fund raising events have been held in his name, to raise money for the charity, the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA).

Thousands of pounds were raised at an auction of promises at the County Showground, Haverfordwest, in February with food for the evening donated by several organisations and businesses including Hayscastle WI.

Auctioneer for the evening was Huw Evans and Jeffrey Evans acted as master of ceremonies.

Kathy, whose friend, Kathryn Wilkins, helped to organise the event, said it had been an opportunity for the family to focus their grief on something positive.

“We wanted to raise money to help prevent other families going through what we had to,’’ she said.

She described the support at the auction as “incredible’’. “Everything was donated, people were amazing. We are hugely grateful to them for their support.

“We thought we might sell 100 tickets but there were 250 people there on the evening.’’

Other fund raising activities included three fayres at St Ishmaels garden centre run by Andrew and Cathy’s son, Simon.

Nearly £20,000 has been raised since Andrew’s death. On March 29 a cheque for £14,582 – the money raised at the auction of promises – was presented to Richard Shackelford of MNDA during a presentation evening at Hayscastle, attended by Andrew’s family and friends, including his three children, Simon, Lucinda and Paul.

Andrew and his family had farmed for 23 years at Castell Y Gwcw, where they milk a herd of 260 milking cows including dairy shorthorns.

“Andrew lived life at 100 miles an hour and loved farming,’’ said Kathy. “He was very keen on the grazing system and valued his membership of the Grazing Dragons discussion group and the North Pembrokeshire Grassland Society.’’

He was also a member of the Carmarthen Table Tennis Club with his son Paul.

Before his death Andrew had discussed the need for more research to be undertaken into finding a cure for motor neurone disease.

“We held a fundraiser before Andrew died and he wanted any money that was raised to be donated for research,’’ said Kathy.