Offaly cancer support group, Dóchas, are expected to benefit to the tune of some €30,000 from this year's annual Tullamore Tractor Run, which was one of the most successful events ever, according to chief organiser, PJ Lynam.
The committee of the annual fundraising initiative, which has been running for the past ten years, have already raised €25,000 from the Tractor Run, and PJ Lynam is hopeful of being able to bring that figure “close to €30,000” by the time outstanding monies from sponsorship cards is collected over the coming weeks.
“I am absolutely blown away by the support for the Tractor Run, and by the amazing generosity of people,” says PJ, who heads up a six-member Committee behind the organisation of the huge event.
The unseasonably mild weather contributed to a record turnout of entrants and spectators for this year's tractor run, which attracted over 400 entrants, ranging from both new and vintage tractors to classic cars, motorbikes and lorries. The huge cavalcade of vehicles, the largest ever seen in Tullamore, set off from the Market Square just before 12 noon and took in Ballydaly; Wood of O; Kilmurry Cross; Rathdrum; Ballycommon; Springfield and Cappincur before returning to the Market Square over two hours later where there was hot soup and rolls, compliments of Leavy's Centra on Henry Street, and plenty of musical entertainment laid on for the bumper crowds who turned out on the day.
“Apart from the fundraising, the social aspect of the Tractor Run is also very important,” explains PJ Lynam who adds that “the craic was mighty throughout the day, for example we had ceili dancing, face painting and vintage displays in the Market Square, and we were also selling Tullamore Tractor Run souvenir hats and we had Disney characters to entertain the children, so there was something for everyone.”
As well as the tractor run itself, the fundraising event culminates every year with a monster auction in the Harbour Bar, where the generosity of bidders was “simply outstanding” according to PJ, who adds that the Committee sold two All-Ireland tickets for €1,250 and two 6 Nations tickets for the Ireland V England game for an astonishing €1,440 at the auction.
“We raised €11,000 at the auction, and we collected €14,000 in tractor registrations, which is the biggest entry to date, and we still have a lot of sponsorship cards to be collected, so we are deeply grateful to everyone for their continued support and for their amazing generosity” says PJ Lynam.
While the annual tractor Rrun is a huge undertaking, and is one of the biggest events of its kind in the country, the committee are keen to point out that it is “a collaborative effort” and they are deeply indebted to their wives, families and friends and to the numerous people who help to make the event such a success.
“Without the support and assistance of Offaly County Council personnel and the local Gardai we couldn't stage the tractor run, so we are deeply indebted to them for their help in traffic management and ensuring that everything ran as smoothly as it did,” says PJ Lynam, who adds that he and his fellow committee members are currently working towards collecting all outstanding monies and presenting a sizeable cheque to Offaly Dóchas in the coming weeks