Farming community doubles the joy for local youngsters

Preston’s farming community doubled the joy for local children in the run up to Christmas by not only coming together for a tinsel and trimmings tractor run, which had Santa at its helm but also, by using the event to raise £2,500 via donations from the drivers and a bucket collection among spectators for Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Appeal.

The run had 45 decorated, carol blasting tractors and a Toy Story truck process in a circular route of more than 15 miles from Inskip through Catforth, Treales, Roseacre, Elswick and Great Eccleston.

It was organised by Inskip’s Bryan Eccleston and his partner Jilly with help from their friend Pete Marquis, of Treales, who owns and drove the Toy Story Truck. Bucket donations were kindly collected by Sally Houghton, dressed as a jolly elf. 

Digger driver Bryan has organised three such charity runs over the last two years. His last run in the summer supported Lancashire Teaching Hospital Charity’s Children’s Appeal and the Brain Tumour Charity (in memory of Charlie Robinson), while his first run in 2020 raised money for local NHS frontline staff via a donation to Lancashire Teaching Hospital’s Charity.

Bryan said: “It was great to see so many families lining the route. It was a special evening that really brought the community together. I’d like to thank everyone who joined the tractor convoy, especially for the effort drivers had put in trimming their tractors, and everyone who donated. As it was such a success, it is something we are hoping to now do annually.”

The run’s donation to the Children’s Appeal will help pay for a £1 million shopping list of items to make children’s wards, outpatients and other paediatric treatment areas at the Royal Preston Hospital less clinical and more comfortable for the 10,000 babies and young people annually, aged from one day to 19 years, who attend for check-ups and treatment.

Among items on the list are virtual sky ceiling panels, reclining chairs for parent sleep-overs, new lifts and hoists, a new mental health suite and more play equipment to create a healing environment. The appeal will also fund a parent break-out zone of a fully kitted out kitchen/dining area.

Fundraising Manager Roya Armstrong said: “We are extremely grateful to Bryan, Jilly and Pete for organising such a magical event to help us. It’s no mean feat at such a busy time of year. We are very grateful to everyone who went to such a lot of effort to take part and to all those who lined the route in support of the run and gave so generously at a very expensive time of year.”

To watch a video explaining more about the Children’s Appeal, become involved or make a donation, go to www.lthcharity.org.uk/childrensappeal