York & North Yorkshire

Coronavirus: Lottery winner gives away free potatoes

Susan Herdman holding potatoes Image copyright Susan Herdman
Image caption Susan Herdman said it was "lovely" to "make people smile" by giving away free potatoes

A lottery winner has given out thousands of potatoes from her farm to help deal with food shortages caused by coronavirus panic-buying.

Susan Herdman, 51, hand-picked the vegetables before giving them free of charge to people in North Yorkshire.

She delivered spuds to self-isolating families and a home for disabled children in Boroughbridge.

Ms Herdman took action after hearing about people stockpiling food, leading to empty shelves at supermarkets.

She said: "To me, it's not a big thing, we're just giving away potatoes.

"I don't understand selfish people, I've been a giver all my life. Hopefully it proves that farmers aren't that tight."

Ms Herdman ran a hair salon before winning £1.2m on the lottery in 2010, moving from Herefordshire to live on the farm.

She had been due to plough the potatoes back into the ground after recent wet weather but changed her mind due to the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Herdman said her offer of free spuds over Facebook "spiralled out of control" and she spent all weekend delivering them.

She added: "I was inundated with hundreds of messages from people saying, 'in a world so dark and selfish, you have made us smile'."

Ms Herdman also placed a large bag of potatoes in the town for people to help themselves and offered individual time slots for families to come to the farm and pick their own.

Image copyright Susan Herdman
Image caption Ms Herdman and her family hand-picked the potatoes from the farm

Retailers have confirmed there is enough food to go round, but said they were struggling to get items into stores as fast as people are buying them.

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