Press release posted 19 December 2023
A giant convoy of tractors will drive through the rural streets of Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Derbyshire on Saturday 30 December 2023 in a heartwarming tribute to 3 much-loved people from the farming community, Harvey Mitchell, Lisa Messenger and Stuart Wainwright and friends.
For what has now become an annual fixture in the local calendar since the inaugural event in 2020, the 100+ tractor convoy attracts thousands of onlookers across Poynton, Disley, New Mills, Marple and beyond.
The event is organised by 23-year-old agricultural-based contractor Ferguson Roylance from Whitegate. When his good friend and farming colleague Harvey Mitchell sadly died from cancer in December 2020, Ferguson wanted to do something in memory of him, and to say thanks to everyone at The Christie hospital for caring for Harvey.
Harvey’s funeral was restricted due to the pandemic, so Ferguson and his partner Zara came up with the idea of organising a ‘tractor run’ where people could participate via social distancing and to let Harvey’s family and friends have the chance to say goodbye to him.
“My goal was to give people the opportunity to say farewell to Harvey and raise money for the hospital who cared for him - all in a COVID-safe environment,” said Ferguson. “I don’t have an event organising background, but it was a big success - hundreds of people all stood socially distanced at the sides of the roads to watch and wave at us all as we drove past in our tractors. It was a special way to celebrate Harvey, while also raising vital funds to help support cancer patients and their families.”
The following year another friend of the farming community Lisa Messenger passed away, so the fundraising tractor convoy was repeated to honour her name as well.
Ferguson’s initial fundraising goal was £1,000 but the total is now over £16,000! Tractor drivers pay a donation to join in the convoy, which will start at Hilltop Farm in Woodford, Stockport at 11.30am on Saturday 30 December 2023 and will incorporate several towns including Marple, New Mills and Disley. The event finishes at around 5.30pm at Middlewood, Stockport, where people will gather for refreshments. Throughout the tractor convoy there will be opportunities to donate to The Christie Charity.
As well as for Lisa and Harvey, this year’s convoy will be in memory of Stuart Wainwright, who recently died in a farming accident.
“We have chosen Saturday 30 December as it is a slightly quieter time for most farmers and it is also quieter on the roads,” explains Ferguson. “We appreciate the support from the council, the police and all emergency services to help make this event happen - it’s our way of remembering our friends Harvey, Lisa and Stuart, whilst raising money for a good cause.”
Anyone is welcome to come along to watch the tractor convoy and/or take part in the event by signing up on Ferguson Roylance's JustGiving page.
Louise Dawson, community fundraising officer at The Christie Charity, “The tractor convoy is such a great idea. We’re so grateful to Ferguson and the farming community for their wonderful fundraising efforts and we hope it is another big success this year.”
To support the work of The Christie Charity, please go to Donate today or ring 0161 446 3988.
The Christie Charity supports the work of The Christie NHS Foundation Trust providing enhanced services over and above what the NHS funds. This includes money for care and treatment, research, education, and extra patient services. Gifts from the public make a huge difference to the care and treatment that The Christie is able to provide to patients and their families.