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Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run was a right royal success!

Posted by Chris Graham on 13th July 2023

Gary Anderson reports on the 17th Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run, organised in aid of the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Seventy tractors took part in this year’s Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run, which was raising funds for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

As we move rapidly through 2023, well into the 21st century, would that great pioneer of tractor technology, Harry Ferguson, have even dreamt that his Little Grey Fergie would still excite and amaze children, and even their parents?

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Event organiser Gary Anderson provides the amplification for the Reverend Sue Morton during the tractor run blessing.

But, whatever the colour or brand of vintage tractor, when these wonderful machines are gathered together and presented to the general public, the reaction’s always the same; people simply start to smile!

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Gary Anderson leads the convoy out of the starting field, at the beginning of the 21-mile route.

This was the biggest take-away from the recent Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run, which took place on Sunday, May 21st against a backdrop of the rolling Chiltern countryside. The event followed its usual successful format although this year, to mark the Coronation of King Charles III, entrants were encouraged to celebrate the great event. As a result, red, white and blue pennants, flags and banners were much in evidence on both tractors, their drivers and the many trailered passengers. 

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Kevan Dowse, from Chinnor, leaves the start with his ‘working clothes’ MF 135.

The morning started with traditional bacon rolls, hot drinks and fantastic, sunny weather. The Reverend Sue Morton (Hambleden Valley Church Assoc Priest) couldn’t raise a choir that morning, but needn’t have worried as the massed drivers and passengers sang beautifully as part of the event blessing ceremony. 

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Maddie McTeague, from Hambleden, looks very happy to be under way on her Ferguson TE-D 20.

The convoy of 70 tractors and trailers left the starting field at 9.30am and the reassuring hum of all those old engines filled the air with a relaxing beat as the participants set off on the well-planned, 21-mile, mostly off-road route. A few steep hills tested the old engines during the early stages, and a few succumbed to fuel flow and sediment issues. Luckily, it seemed that every other driver was a knowledgeable mechanic so, at the first sign of a cough or splutter, team spirit took over and many hands made light work of getting any faltering engines running smoothly again.

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Matt Bates travelled from Essex to take part in the event with his MF 135.

As the convoy passed through the village of Lane End, to the west of High Wycombe, many families were out to wave and cheer the tractors on. A charity collecting pot was soon filled. The Chiltern Vintage Tractor Run is very lucky to have many land owners and farmers fully supporting the event, and allowing access to some of the most amazing countryside the Chiltern Hills have to offer. 

Chiltern Vintage Tractor Charity Run

Paul Hickox driving Gary Anderson’s ‘old faithful’ Ferguson TE-F 20.

The morning run through these estates and farms was pure bliss, although a couple of tractors decided they’d had enough and would go no further. As it turned out, both had topped up with diesel from a tank that was clearly contaminated, so there was no quick fix. But both were put on tow, and made it safely to the lunch stop. 

A cheery wave from Tom Peers, from Chiselhampton, on his MF 35.

The refreshment break took place thanks to the kind permission of Mr Mark Getty and his family, with the tractors parking beside the beautifully scenic, private cricket ground on the Wormsley Estate. There was a match in progress between two local teams, which provided an added attraction for drivers and passengers as they enjoyed a delicious barbecue and homemade cakes. Even some of the cricketers couldn’t resist coming over to admire the vintage tractor lines and have a burger!

Geoff Turner, from Bovingdon Green, and his Ferguson 35 Grey and Gold flying the flag for the King.

As part of the fund-raising, we always hold a raffle and provide some ‘entertainment’. This year a busy raffle and the ‘real’ coronation took place; our new King and Queen had already greeted every one of the tractors onto the site.

Sadly I didn’t get this Perkins-engined Ferguson driver’s name, but his young passengers were certainly enjoying the ride.

After an extremely enjoyable lunch break the participants trundled their way back to the starting field where even more cakes and drinks were waiting. All agreed that it had been an amazing day but, as always, the real success of any charity fund-raising event has to be gauged by the amount of money collected. In this case, I’m delighted to report that – so far – we’ve raised just over £7,000, which I think is truly astonishing given the current economic situation. So, many thanks to all involved (especially the marshals and caterers), and here’s to the 18th run in 2024!

Colin Edgington, from Marlow, with his Ferguson TE-F 20 and patriotically-decorated trailer. I liked the Grenadier Guard hitching a ride on the front grille!

 

Stephen Neale, from Aylesbury, aboard his fantastic-looking Massey Harris 744D.

 

A very dapper Ben Seale, in sports jacket and bowler, took part with his recently-acquired Massey Ferguson 35X.

 

Gary Anderson reaches the lunch stop, and enjoyed a right ‘Royal Welcome’!

 

This impressive arial view shows the tractors lined-up next to the Wormsley Estate’s wonderful cricket ground, during the lunch stop.

This feature comes from the latest issue of Classic Massey & Ferguson Enthusiast, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE

 

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