Festive tractor run raises thousands for air ambulance

A sponsored tractor run in Oxfordshire on Christmas Eve has raised more than £6,500 for Thames Valley Air Ambulance.

The debut event was branded a huge success by organiser Jesse Smith, who was surprised to find that the target of raising £500 had been smashed.

Tractor run

Jesse’s friend Granger Challis first came up with the tractor run idea in November and worked with him to make it happen by spreading the word on social network group AgriSocial.

Tractor run organisers

Granger Challis (left) with Jesse Smith

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Having expected about 20 tractors to turn up for the parade on Christmas Eve, the pair were shocked to find nearly 80 vehicles joining the run, which started in the market town of Thame, near Oxford.

Tractor run

“Once the time came to set off on the route there were 79 vehicles lined up,” said Jesse. “When we reached Thame high street there were nearly 2,500 people filling both sides of the street, all eagerly waiting to witness the charity event drive through. They made generous donations into our donations buckets.”

Tractor run

Money raised on the day was later doubled by a donation from Thame-based John Deere dealer Farol Ltd and in the days since the event Jesse has received more than 30 messages from people asking that the tractor parade is run again next year.

Tractor run

“I am truly thankful for everyone who came along and donated to this amazing charity. I am so proud of the work the Thames Valley Air Ambulance does for the community – it really means a lot to the farming community and everyone else,” said Jesse.

He added that the tractor run will ride again this year.

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