On Sunday 2nd June, thirty vintage tractors took to the roads of South East Essex to raise money for the county’s only children’s hospice.
The Rochford Hundred Vintage Tractor & Engine Club rode in convoy around Roach Valley to raise vital funds for their chosen charity Little Havens Hospice in Thundersley, which cares for babies, children and teenagers with life-limiting illnesses from across Essex and their families.
Here Dave Wall from the club’s committee explains what happened on the day.
“On Sunday 2nd June, thirty vintage tractors with a good selection of makes and models assembled on a grassy field at Sutton Hall Farm from around 8.30am. Vice-Chairman Phil Vidler was in a barn registering the drivers and handing out sponsorship forms. At 10am, Phil called attention for a quick briefing and then by 10.15am we were off towards the River Roach seawall. A very grassy, bumpy track led for about a mile to Mucking Hall Farm in Barling, then an abrupt right to turn along a farm track taking us to Butlers Farm, almost back to Sutton Hall.
“We then took a left onto Shopland Road and in a well-spaced convoy we crept to Stonebridge Corner heading for Barling along country roads. Eventually reaching Little Wakering Road, we travelled southwards and then finding the marker, we used the track leading to Bentall’s Farm where we had been allocated a paddock to park up, the horses having been kicked out temporarily. A short walk took us to the Castle Inn for our halfway point roast dinner.
“At 1pm, we headed off again and went along a dusty gravel and dirt road towards Wakering Common Road, down to the Church, towards Landwick and to the daunting, guarded entrance to the secret island of Foulness. John Burroughs, who lives and farms on the island, took our details to the Security Office and we were waved through and escorted by John the six miles or so to the Heritage Centre. John had made provision for us to park en masse in a small field opposite the Centre where we made a long line. That was the signal for the many visitors to the Centre that day to come over the road to have a look at the tractors and have a chat with us about what we were doing.
“On display we had Phil leading with his Massey 65 with his trailer advertising our chosen charity Little Havens with a big banner. He was followed by a collection of Internationals, Masseys, Fords and Fordsons, a Nuffield and some Fergusons including the rumbustious Rover V8 engined Fergie of Eric Smith, which had broken down several times due to ignition problems. At the rear came three of Tabor Farms’ massive John Deere moderns, followed by Paul Willis’ big old Morris truck, and then there were two old Landies of Keith Armstrong and Roger Mason, a 4wd Toyota of Michael Moore and Club Chairman Ken McVittie’s Nissan pick-up, to sweep up after us and collect the marker flags.
“We spent an hour at the Heritage Centre, learning about the area and looking at the interesting artefacts they have in the Museum, and of course have a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake. Just after 3pm, Phil brought us together again to be escorted off the Island in a long convoy, led by John Burroughs to make sure there was nobody left behind to pinch any secrets. We made our way to Great Wakering High Street going the full length and then followed the road into Barling through to Mucking Hall Farm and then Butlers Farm. Finally, we drove the last half mile or so back to Sutton Hall Farm and that was the end of our ‘Tractor Trek’ having travelled 26-miles.
“We are very pleased to have raised over £1600 for Little Havens Hospice, which will help them continue caring and ‘Making every day count’ for the families they care for. It’s fantastic that by taking part in something that we enjoy we’re able to help them provide free specialist care for everyone who needs them.
“On behalf of everyone who took part in the day I would like to thank Phil for his great work in planning and organising this event and to Ken, Eddie and Eric who helped survey the route and put out the markers. Thanks also go to The Tabor Family for allowing us to start and finish at Sutton Hall and to Pendle Bentall for the use of a paddock to park up for lunch, and thanks also to John Burroughs for negotiating with the Ministry of Defence, and acting as our escort on the Island. It was a very successful day out, we hope it was enjoyed by everyone who joined us”
Little Havens is part of Havens Hospices, which also includes Fair Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice. If you’re a member of a club and you’ve been inspired by the Rochford Hundred Vintage Tractor & Engine Club and would like to fundraise your way for Havens Hospices please click here.