Tractors on the road aren’t traditionally the most popular of vehicles but residents of North Yorkshire turned out in force to cheer on a fabulous fund-raising effort.
A record 360 tractors turned out to support the Knaresborough Young Farmers’ Club annual run, adding at least £10,000 to the £40,000 the event has already raised for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance.
Yesterday’s turnout is thought to have secured the event – organised in memory of former member Mike Spink – as the biggest tractor run in the whole country.
There was a new starting point, from the Yorkshire Agricultural Society’s (YAS) headquarters in Harrogate, as it had outgrown its old gathering point; but the route took in all its traditional Nidderdale drive-throughs including Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge.
“There are no pre-entries so you never know until the day how many are going to turn up,” said one of the event organisers Steven Brown.
“We got to last year’s total of just over 300 and then they just kept coming; it’s a happy but very emotional day for all of us who new Mike. He would absolutely capped to think of all these tractors turning out to remember him and raise money for such a good cause.”
The new starting point of the YAS headquarters also proved popular because it is the new home for the Yorkshire Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs (YFYFC).
“Of course, I must thank all the marshals and helpers,” said Steven. “But what really makes the day is the spectators. It makes all the hard work organising worthwhile when you see so many people cheering and waving as you go by on the tractors.”
Sunday’s event was the fourth annual tractor run the club has organised since 24 year-old Mike died in a road accident whilst working on a farm in New Zealand in 2017. His friends from YFC wanted to do something to honour him and a tractor run seemed the most fitting tribute.
“It’s breathtaking to think how this event has grown in such a short space of time,” said Steven. “It started out with just a dozen of us going for a run out on our tractors to remember Mike. To see the 360 turn out this year is very humbling.”
It is hoped there might be another legacy in Mike’s name … Knaresborough YFC is in need of new members to turn up to its weekly meetings.
Another one of the event organisers, James Parker, explained: “It’s just happened that a lot of us have become over the official age for young farmers at the same time.
“There used to be about 35 members turning up for meetings every week and now the club’s down to only about ten. It would be absolutely wonderful if some of the youngsters who come out to see the tractor run started to come along to young farmers. We meet every Wednesday night, either at Knaresborough Football Club or are out visiting a farm or doing some activity or other. Everybody is very welcome; you don’t have to live on a farm to join young farmers.”
For further information about the tractor run or joining Knaresborough YFC visit www.yfyfc.co.uk or telephone Knaresborough YFC on 07920 884575.