Classic tractor journey raises money for charity
Between 12th and 20th April, they ploughed through over 100 towns as they travelled the famous 962 mile route down the length of the UK from the northernmost point of mainland Scotland to the tip of Cornwall.
With a top speed of 15mph, they completed the trip in a total of 10 days, taking it in turns to drive the tractors and stopping overnight at the homes of other young farmers from clubs around the country.
They set off in a magnificent procession from John O’Groats on Saturday 12th April with an escort of other tractors driven by members of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers' Clubs (SAYFC). The route took them past Loch Ness, through Inverness-shire and across the Scottish Highlands before entering the picturesque Lake District from where they headed across the Peak District and down into the Cotswolds.
On 17th April they stopped off at the headquarters of the National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs (NFYFC) at Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth to meet with other young farmers to raise awareness of their fundraising efforts. Finally they hit the home stretch, travelling through Somerset, Devon and eventually arriving at their final destination: Lands’ End on Saturday 20th April where they were met by a host of key sponsors and supporters.
The idea for the challenge came about when 22 year-old club member Josh Stephens and his 16 year-old brother Callum were given two classic tractors by their Grandparents who were retiring from their farm in Northern Scotland. The boys wanted to bring the family heirlooms back to Cornwall and came up with the idea of a tractor relay as a fun way of transporting them that could raise some valuable money for charity at the same time.
The machines themselves are a rare classic Case 2290; a big two-wheeled drive, American-style tractor made in the 1980s, and a Fiat 1300 Super; a six cylinder, one of only a handful of such models in the country. The brothers plan to put them to light work on their mixed livestock and arable farm Tregays near St Winnow with a view to keeping them in good working condition.
The club is aiming to raise a minimum of £10,000 for Cancer Research UK throughout kind donations and sponsorship. Sponsors include: Trewithen Dairy, Mole Valley Farmers, HRM Tractors, Morecom Construction and Hayes Farm Cider. The club is also organising a Grand Prize Draw at the end of the summer, as well as at events and vintage rallies around Cornwall.
16 year-old Callum Stephens said: “It’s been a really fun journey and we were delighted that everyone rallied round to support us every step of the way. Travelling all the way from John O’Groats to Land’s End was amazing - my favourite part of the route was definitely over the Scottish highlands as the views of Ben Nevis were incredible. We were extremely lucky with the weather too, so much so that the Fiat has been affectionately nicknamed the sweatbox! Whilst it was a very enjoyable experience, I am feeling relieved to have finished now. We’re going to keep both tractors in good working condition, probably taking the Fiat to some shows, whilst the Case will come in handy on the farm.”
Fleur Worden, event organiser and outgoing Chair of the Lostwithiel Young Farmers Club (LYFC) said: “We literally came up with the tractor relay idea around the kitchen table one Sunday lunch-time - it made much more sense to make something of the journey and involve the club rather than simply hire a van to transport the tractors. It’s been such a good opportunity to raise money for a cause that is close to a lot of people’s hearts that they can relate to no matte.whereabouts in the country they are.”
For more information on CRUK’s volunteering opportunities here: http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/support-us/volunteer
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