By Suzanne Pender
THE DRIVE is on to reach half-a-million euros by a Carlow charity which, for almost two decades, has gone the distance for Children Health Foundation, Crumlin.
The Carlow to Cork Tractor Club is going all out this June Bank Holiday weekend to raise funds for sick children, and over two days will make the tough but fun-filled journey to Cork to raise funds.
This is the 19th year of the run and to date the club has raised an astonishing €493,135 for Children Health Foundation, Crumlin. Its members are hoping 2023 will be the year they break the €500,000 mark and are urging all in the community to lend their support.
“We started the club in memory of a local child. Crumlin Hospital is very close to our hearts and is important to so many people in Ireland. There are lots of sick kids out there and we’re doing our bit to help,” said Brendan Byrne from the club.
The Carlow to Cork Tractor Club has about 70 members and every year on the June Bank Holiday weekend they begin their adventure from Fenagh to raise funds for CMRF Crumlin.
Over the two days, they hit the road in their vintage tractors, some of which are 60 to 70 years’ old, and make the journey to Cork.
“It’s amazing how people are willing to throw some money our way during the event. It really shows how helping sick children is a cause close to everyone’s heart,” added Brendan.
The trip itself is full of great fun and camaraderie.
“We start off in Fenagh, Co Carlow, spend one night in Dungarvan, Co Waterford and finish up at halfway in Ballinhassig, where a lovely family take care of us. We have music and a barbecue to celebrate,” explained Brendan.
“We all look forward to this trip so much every year. Ask anybody in the group if they’re looking forward to holidays in Spain or abroad and they’ll tell you how it’s the Carlow to Cork Tractor Run that they’re most looking forward to,” he added.
The Carlow to Cork club enjoys a great relationship with the hospital, CHI and Louisa, the hospital liaison officer, who recently gave them a tour of the hospital.
“As a rule, from the first year that we did the run to Cork, we donate all funds raised to the hospital – our club members pay all their own expenses on all trips … no exceptions. We pride ourselves on this, and at the end of every year our bank balance is zero,” explained Brendan.
“With the continued kindness and generosity of our supporters, we will continue to support the patients, families and staff in Children’s Health Ireland today, tomorrow and in the future,” he added.
The club will set off from Fenagh on Friday 2 June. Donations are welcome on www.tractorrun.com.