TWO retired friends who have taken 36 years to restore an old tractor will take it on a 33-mile sponsored run over two Lakeland passes this weekend.
George Long and Pete Myers will on Saturday drive the 1953 Ferguson TED tractor over Wrynose and Hardknott Passes to raise money for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation.
Back in 1978, Mr Long, of Mill Brow Farm, Skelwith Bridge, near Ambleside, paid £40 for the tractor to save it from being scrapped.
George, who now manages an award-winning Limousin herd with wife Pat, had first driven the tractor back in the 1960s as a young farmhand at Wall End Farm, Great Langdale, and then again when it was bought by the tenant at neighbouring Bayes Brown Farm.
And so began a stop start labour of love to restore it to its former glory. Now some 36 years on, George, who has retired from running his own building and joinery business, has finished the restoration. In the early days he received help and guidance from his friend Chris Smith, of P.V. Dobson & Sons, Levens, and latterly, from pal Pete Myers, a retired production director.
By way of a celebration they are to take the tractor on a run from Mill Brow Farm into Seathwaite and Eskdale via the two passes before returning to Skelwith Bridge around five hours later. En route, they will hold a bucket collection for the foundation.
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Their target is to raise £3,000 for Rosemere, which recently gave £100,000 towards the refurbishment of Ward 8 at Westmorland General Hospital where South Cumbrian cancer patients can now have chemotherapy, reducing their need to travel out of the area.
George and Pete have personal reasons for helping the foundation. Pat and Pete himself received its support when they were going through cancer treatment a few years ago. They are now both in remission. George said: “We’ve taken the tractor to Langdale Gala, Ambleside and Coniston Country Fair, where we’ve collected for Rosemere.”
As part of the challenge route, the duo will be stopping off at a trio of pubs – the Newfield in Seathwaite, the King George in Eskdale and The Woolpack at the foot of the Hardknott Pass to collect donations. To sponsor George and Pete’s challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/vintagetractorchallenge2014.