Cross country for charity

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FARMER Chris Calvert completed a 200-mile charity ride on a 60-year old tractor on Monday in support of Cancer Research UK.

The Ferguson tractor, manufactured in 1948, has a top speed of 10mph and took four days to travel from St Bees, in Cumbria, to the finish line at Robin Hood’s Bay.

So far Mr Calvert has managed to raise £5,000 in aid of cancer research and decided to take up the challenge in memory of his mother, Mabel, who died from the disease 18 months ago.

The farmer, who hails from Keld in Upper Swaledale, said: “Seeing what she went through made me think I would like to do something for them and we live on the Coast to Coast route so four days on the little grey Fergie seemed appropriate.

“When we set off it was very wet and miserable and my heart skipped a beat on the A66 with the huge lorries flying past us, but once we got over the tops and I could see the sea I thought ‘no problem’.”

Wife Glenda followed behind the tractor for the entire route, carrying spare fuel as the tractor’s only dial is for oil pressure, and she said she has been amazed by the generosity of people they have passed on the journey.

“The morning we set off was absolutely filthy and as I followed him off the beach a lifeboat man ran up and gave me a tenner. Lots of strangers have done that, flagged him down and given him money, and that’s marvellous.”

Mr Calvert’s grandfather, also named Christopher, bought the tractor for £375 from Reeth Garage, in 1951 and the vehicle retains many of its original parts and features.

Ferguson tractor restorer Chris Whitehead, of Pickhill, near Thirsk, has given the tractor an overhaul to get it fit for the trip, including re-wiring and fitting new wheel bearings.

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