A convoy of vintage tractors arrived in Newcastle, County Down, last week to support children’s cancer charity Cancer Fund for Children.
Twenty-four drivers and their vintage tractors were welcomed at Daisy Lodge, Cancer Fund for Children’s therapeutic short break centre located at the foothills of the Mourne Mountains, by the charity’s ambassador and former Irish and Ulster rugby captain Rory Best.
Participants were taking part in the seven day ‘London 2 Mayo’ vintage tractor run, organised by Extreme Tractor Runs, which will see them clock up 833km in an effort to raise €100,000 to help the charity build a second Daisy Lodge in County Mayo to provide respite to children across Ireland diagnosed with cancer and their families.
Drivers had travelled from London to Birkenhead and across the Irish Sea to Belfast, then on to Newcastle, County Down.
The next stage of the journey seen them head to Castleblaney, Longford, and Kilkelly before finally arriving in County Mayo, where a second Daisy Lodge is due to be built on the shores of Lough Corrib near the village of Cong.
John Corley, lead driver of the ‘London 2 Mayo’ vintage tractor run, said: “As a proud Mayo man, I will be very proud to welcome a new Daisy Lodge to County Mayo and will do everything I can to make it happen.
“This therapeutic centre will help children and their families who have been affected by cancer and who require much needed respite.
“There are 24 drivers taking part in ‘London 2 Mayo’ and every single one of us has been affected by cancer to some degree.
“There’s nothing more distressing than to witness a child having to deal with a cancer diagnosis and see how it affects the entire family.
“The work that Cancer Fund for Children does to support these children and their families is like a breath of fresh air and allows them to regroup and find some normality in a dark place.”
The planned centre in Mayo has been inspired by Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, which currently supports around 450 families a year.
Speaking about the need for a second Daisy Lodge, Cancer Fund for Children’s CEO Phil Alexander said: “Capacity in Newcastle is not sufficient to meet the all-Ireland demand for our support and that’s why we desperately need this second therapeutic short break centre. We are so grateful to Extreme Tractor Run for raising funds to help us build a life-changing facility for children and their families.
“We understand that behind every childhood cancer diagnosis there is a whole family affected, and beyond the essential medical care there is a family life that needs to be rebuilt.
“A new Daisy Lodge in Mayo would mean so much to these families.”
n Find out more about Cancer Fund for Children and their plans for a second Daisy Lodge at cancerfundforchildren.com
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