YOUNG farmers from across Yorkshire have rallied behind a campaign to raise money for potentially life-saving treatment for a three-year-old boy battling cancer.

Freddie Thompson’s family, from Ampleforth, has a farming background and although it is about 13 years since his father Philip was a member of Thirsk Young Farmers’ Club, the whole Yorkshire federation (YFYFC) has swung into action.

Proceeds from the annual YFYFC county clay shooting competition, hosted by Ryedale District Young Farmers in Hovingham, were donated to the appeal, which has already passed the halfway mark of its £250,000 target in just seven weeks.

The remainder of the money needs to be raised by September, in order for Freddie to be able to go to America for a pioneering vaccine.

Freddie was just two when he was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma and he has already undergone a gruelling treatment of 80 days of chemotherapy and surgery at Leeds General Infirmary.

Freddie’s mum’s cousin, Helen Ward, who is part of the Freddie’s Fight fundraising team, said: “It’s been absolutely amazing how the rural and farming community has got behind this; I know it means a huge amount to Philip, whose family farm at Kilburn, near Thirsk, and Emily.

“The support of Yorkshire’s young farmers has been particularly moving, as current members won’t have been around when Freddie’s family were involved in the organisation. But that’s the great thing about young farmers - it’s like one big family and once you’ve been a member you always have that connection.

“As a group of friends and family we have especially strong connections with Thirsk, Easingwold and Ryedale young farmers - but it’s been amazing how, through the farming community, word about Freddie has spread to a much wider area.”

For more details of YFC events, which range from a tractor run on May 12, organised by Easingwold YFC, to Helmsley’s duck race at Easter, look up the Freddie’s Fight page on Facebook.

Particular highlights include plans for a big shed “do” in Ryedale this summer and a silent auction, on April 26, hosted by Snainton YFC.

There is also a raffle, with the star prize to win a vintage tractor, which will be drawn by Yorkshire vet Peter Wright at The Swan in Ampleforth on August 3 and a “give your grain” donation scheme being run by Argrain, near Easingwold, in association with Ripon Select Foods.

Kirsty Searby, chairman of YFYFC, added: “This response to Freddie’s Fight is typical of the young farmers’ movement. Like Freddie’s family has said, YFC is like one big family and I’m very proud of the way members have got behind this appeal.”