Tractor boys ride coast to coast

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TRAVELLING coast to coast is a common fund-raising pursuit, but two north east men are taking a different approach in support of a sailing organisation that helps disadvantaged young people.

With a top speed of 15mph, Robert Keraton and Robert Morrell (both 21), from Barnard Castle, are riding a pair of vintage Massey Ferguson tractors from Whitehaven to Whitby to raise funds for Ocean Youth Trust North (OYT North).

The 180-mile journey will start on 22 April and will take three days, with up to eight hours each day spent driving.

Mr Kearton said: “People travel coast-to-coast on bikes, so I thought, ‘Why not on tractors?’ I’ve been collecting vintage tractors for nine years now, so I thought this would be a great chance to get them out on the road for a really good cause.

“I volunteer with OYT North and I think the work they do with young people is really important.

“I decided it was time to give something back - that’s when I had the idea for this challenge.”

OYT North specialises in the personal development of young people through sailing adventures on their purpose-built vessel James Cook and is the only organisation in the north east that helps young people to develop important life skills through sail training.

Steve Lennon, general manager of OYT North, said: “As a charity we rely on the good will and generosity of others to be able to continue our work with the young people of the north east.

“However we have been completely blown away by the efforts of these two young men to support us and we cannot thank them enough.

“I’ve sailed through high seas and freezing temperatures, but I don’t think even I would fancy spending three days straight in a draft tractor.

“I really commend them for their intrepid mission and the James Cook will be ready and waiting to welcome them when they arrive in Whitby on 25 April.”

A welcoming party will take place between 12noon and 2pm at the tourist information centre beside the harbour.

The organisations will be putting on a fun-filled, open event to greet the pair, who are aiming to raise £1,000.

OYT North’s programmes focus on youth development and in the past have given young cancer sufferers an escape from their illnesses, helped young offenders turn their behaviour around and given many young people a focus for their futures and careers.

Alan Thorn, parts manager at the Barnard Castle branch of Carrs Billington Agriculture, has donated Massey Ferguson boilersuits for the pair to keep them warm for the journey.

Mr Thorn said: “The boys have been customers for years and are really good lads who get on well with everyone.

“We wish them all the best and hopefully they’ll raise loads of cash for a great cause.”

To make a donation to the charity drive visit www.justgiving.com/roadrun or call Rachel at the OYT North office on 0191 2571212.