Vintage effort on tractors in Ruthin to raise cash for Wales Air Ambulance

A group of vintage tractor enthusiasts went back to the future to raise money for charity.

Fifty vehicles dating back to the 1940s took part in the annual Vale of Clwyd Vintage Tractor Run.

They were waved off from the assembly point at the Ruthin Livestock Market by Mario Kreft MBE, proprietor of the award-winning Pendine Park care organisation who sponsored the event.

In six  years the organisers, the Vale of Clwyd Vintage Tractor Society, have now raised a total of more  than £15,000 for charity.

This year the proceeds are being shared between the Alzheimer’s Society and the Wales Air Ambulance .

Among those taking part was Dave Murfitt, from Llanrhaedr, near Denbigh, who has a personal reason for wanting to raise money for the Wales Air Ambulance.

Dave, 40, works as an IT Manager for Unilever and is responsible for the conglomerate’s mobile devices worldwide.

In his spare time he runs a smallholding and uses his 1969 David Brown 780  for harrowing and haymaking.

He explained: “About six years ago I fell off my horse and broke both my legs and I was rescued by the Wales Air Ambulance.

“It’s a fantastic service and farmers can live in pretty remote places so the Air Ambulance is our emergency service. It’s what we would rely on if we got stuck in the back of beyond.

“It is an essential service for us and there are lots of people here who live in places where a conventional ambulance simply wouldn’t get to them on time.

“One of the great things about vintage tractors is that you don’t need a seatbelt, the road tax is free.

“It’s just great fun and when you drive through a village and see lots of children and wave at you, there’s nothing better.”

The tractors embarked on 25 mile route,  on an off road,  up to Llyn Brenig for a picnic and then back to the Ruthin Livestock Market.

Committee member Bryn Davies explained: “From here we’re going up to Cyffylliog and we will see some fantastic view and we are very lucky that we have been given permission by Welsh Water to park up on the dam and have our lunch there.

“The oldest tractor is a grey wartime 1945 Fordson but we’re now urging people to start collecting diesel tractors from the 1970s.

“The tractors from the late 1940s and 50s are relatively cheap to buy and you can pick one up for around £300-£400.

“New tractors are so complicated and expensive and the nostalgia of vintage tractors is  a breath of fresh air.”

It was a sentiment echoed by fellow committee member and organiser Mark Young, whose day job is running the popular Denbigh Chocolate Shop.

Mark said: “This is a fantastically enjoyable event but it does have a serious side because we are raising money for two extremely worthy causes.

“We are very grateful to Mario for agreeing to step in and sponsor this year’s tractor run. His contribution is greatly appreciated.”

Mario Kreft, who lives in Denbigh, was delighted to be asked to act as the official starter for the tractor run.

He said: “It’s superb to see these lovely old tractors and their owners having so much fun. It’s wonderful day and they’ve been blessed with beautiful weather.

“These are difficult times for the charity sector but the Alzheimer’s Society and the Wales Air Ambulance have to be two of the top charities.

“Alzheimer’s is afflicting so many people and it’s a problem that is growing so we need to get as much money to look at research and what can be done.

“It goes without saying that the Wales Air Ambulance is a cause that must be close to all our hearts – you never know when you might need their help. It’s marvellous what they do.”

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