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Mammoth tractor run to start in London

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ALL SET Sian Flatley is driving her tractor all the way from London to Cong next week.


Michael Gallagher

An 18-year-old Knock woman will drive her 65-year-old tractor from London to Cong, via Belfast, next week to help raise money for Cancer Fund For Children and the construction of the Daisy Lodge in Cong.
The respite centre will just be the second of its kind on the island of Ireland and Sian Flatley and her 21 colleagues on the London to Mayo Tractor Run are hoping to raise substantial funds with their 833km/522 mile journey over six days from central London to the west coast of Ireland.
The participants, all driving vintage tractors, will leave The Claddagh Ring in London and travel to Belfast before visiting the Daisy Lodge in Newcastle, County Down. They will then move on to Kilkelly before ending the trip in Cong at the site of the proposed respite centre.
The Leaving Cert student in St Louis Community School Kiltimagh is looking forward to the big adventure and told The Mayo News she has been interested in machinery all her life.
“My father, Aiden, does bailing during the summer, so from the moment I was able to reach the pedals, I was on a tractor. I do all the wrapping for my father and anything else that needs to be done such as ploughing, harrowing, seeding, rolling, dicing, bringing in bales, slurry, road sweeping and topping.”

Worthy cause
Sian will be driving a 1957 Ferguson 35 (Gold Belly) with a distinctive contrast of grey tinwork and wheels with golden casting and the Knock woman is determined the event will raise as much money as possible for the worthy cause.
“There’s no family in Ireland who doesn’t know of someone who has needed this support. It has touched all our lives in one way or another. For me, it is so close to home. A family friend, Jamie, has Downs Syndrome, and he first received a diagnosis of Leukemia in March 2018. He completed his treatment, but relapsed and is currently undergoing treatment again for bone marrow and cancer of the eye.
“He is only 13, but is truly inspirational and one of the happiest people I have ever met. Jamie is incredibly special to my family, and we would do anything to help. I cannot stress enough how much a respite centre such as Daisy Lodge would help a child like Jamie and his family,” Sian concluded.
Ballycroy native David Sweeney is also preparing for the big run. He has restored a vintage tractor and is hoping the event will raise as much money as possible for the worthy cause.
“The support we’ve got up to now is brilliant and I can only imagine what it will be like over the next few days,” he added.
Details on how to contribute to the fundraiser can be found on the ‘London2Mayo’ Facebook page where there is a link to a GoFundMe page.