Pink Ladies on track to raise £1m

The iconic Pink Ladies’ Tractor Road Run is set to return in style this year as the event races towards a
fundraising total of £1m.

Marking its 20th anniversary on Sunday 2nd July a convoy of more than 100 decorated tractors
swathed in pink will snake its way through south Norfolk and north Suffolk.

To date, the event has raised £896,000 in aid of Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer appeal and this
year the Pink Ladies hope to raise the £104,000 needed to reach £1m.

Organised by Annie Chapman, she said: “There is a great air of excitement about the Run this year, a
real buzz!

“I have received above the average number of entries for this time of the year including quite a few
new ones.

“Many ladies have already opened their fundraising page for Cancer Research UK which is very encouraging. The other rewarding element to the Run this year is the number of other events being organised by the ladies to raise money for the Pink Ladies.

“We have had a race night, a bingo night, many quizzes, coffee mornings, a fashion show plus plenty more coming up including a car boot sale and a cake stall and possibly a dog show! There is a determination to get that £million!”

Ebony Ayton took part in the Run for the first time last year and at the age of 19 she is one of the youngest to have done so. She’s grown up with the run which continues to be an integral part of her family’s life, her nan Pam has taken part in every run since it began in 2004 and her mum Jo is a stalwart participant. Between the three of them, and with other pink ladies, they host a whole range of fundraising activities throughout the year.

She said: “I’ve watched the run for years but being behind the wheel is a different experience. I will always take part in it, it’s too much fun to stop and the reasons behind it are always going to be important.

“To anyone who is thinking of taking part, don’t hesitate to fill out the form. If it’s a tractor you’re worried about then there’s always people willing to put their tractors forward. And if you’re scared, the support you’re given is like no other and always remember it’s one day of the year for us, that affects the lives of so many others.

“There is no doubt we will get to £1m, we are all totally motivated and with the incredible support in our community we will smash it.”

The route starts at Thorpe Abbotts airfield before heading through Thorpe Abbotts, Brockdish and Upper Weybread, arriving in Harleston at about 12.30pm, before stopping for lunch between 1pm and 3pm at Gawdy Hall Meadow, Redenhall to which everyone is invited to bring a picnic lunch.

The route back to Thorpe Abbotts airfield heads through Pulham St. Mary, Rushall, Langmere Green and back to the airfield.

Each year about a quarter of the ladies taking part are new to the event with many having never driven a tractor before.

One of the first timers this year is Kate Royall, she said: “As a spectator for many years, I have witnessed the crowd-lined routes. I’ve met the ladies, their friends and families and heard their inspiring and heart-breaking stories.

“I’ve seen people along the route dressed in head-to-toe pink, cheering, clapping and crying in support – in towns, villages, laybys and gardens. I’ve seen the houses and businesses bedecked in pink bunting, banners and flags.

“I’ve witnessed it all first-hand but being part of the run and driving through the waves of support will be something else entirely.

“The run does so much more than raise vital funds, it creates a support network for so many, it brings light and laughter to people at times when there may be little, it raises awareness and just maybe, it makes women check their breasts for anything out of the ordinary.”

Last year 112 tractors took place and were greeted by thousands of supporters who had turned out along the route. A total of £84,000 was raised that year, a record for a single year of fundraising.

The incredible total was raised by the ladies who took part in the event, money collected on the day from supporters who gathered along the route and fundraising activities following the tractor run.

Annie said: “As with any event of this size it cannot be achieved without the support of many people. I would like to express my thanks to all tractor owners, landowners, the many marshals, collecting ladies and anyone else who helps to make this event happen, it’s a large team effort!”

Donations for this year’s event can be made here.

The 2023 Ladies’ Tractor Road Run takes place on Sunday 2nd July. For more information about the event please visit www.ladiestractorroadrun.co.uk

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