Banburyshire Christmas Tractor Run event smashes fundraising target

Nearly one hundred fairy lit tractors took to the streets of Banburyshire on Friday December 18 for the fifth Christmas Tractor Run in aid of Katharine House Hospice.

By Matt Elofson
Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 5:50 pm
Christmas Tractor Run, coordinated by RC Baker, has become a huge attraction since it started in 2016. (Photo credit - Matthew Hicks)
Christmas Tractor Run, coordinated by RC Baker, has become a huge attraction since it started in 2016. (Photo credit - Matthew Hicks)

The event has become a highlight in the festive calendar for many with locals declaring on social media that Christmas doesn’t start until they’ve seen the convoy trundle past.

This year, more than ever, the desire of the Christmas Tractor Run team was to spread some much needed cheer after what has been a challenging year for all.

Of course, due to Covid-19, the likelihood of being able to run the event held in the balance after the second national lockdown. Thankfully, with the support of local authorities the event was given the green light to continue. The festive convoy, coordinated by RC Baker, has become a huge attraction since it started in 2016.

Banburyshire Christmas Tractor Run event smashes fundraising target raising more than £20,000 for Katharine House Hospice (Photo credit - Matthew Hicks)

With the decision taken by the organisers not to have bucket shakers this year the pressure was on with the fundraising.

It was hoped that the new text to donate option and the raffle moving online this year would help keep the figures up in an attempt to reach somewhere near to previous years’ totals for the event. Little did anyone know that the total would smash the record breaking amount of just over £10,000 last year.

With donations still coming in, the Christmas Tractor Run 2020 has raised an absolutely staggering £20,000 for Katharine House Hospice.

Jennie Steenkamp, chief organiser of the run, said: “I was totally speechless when Laura from KHH called at around 8.30pm, the evening the run had taken place, to let me know how unbelievable the numbers were.

“As soon as we got back to Spring Hill Farm I checked the JustGiving pages and I knew we were going to be very close to our record breaking amount from 2019, but when Laura said how much the overall total was I just couldn’t believe it and burst into tears.

“I never thought the event would see a figure this high, it is absolutely astonishing. We cannot thank our tractor drivers, our amazing volunteers and community enough for helping to make this event grow into such a magical fundraiser for Katharine House who are a charity so dear to so many of us.”

Anyone who enjoyed seeing the fleet can still donate via the event’s text to donate facility or the JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/christmastractorrun or text TRACTORLIGHTS 5 to 70085 to donate £5.

Texts cost £5 plus one standard rate message. Whatever number is sent is the amount that is donated. So for example, if you text TRACTORLIGHTS 10 to 70085, all donations received would be £10. The minimum number/donation is 2 (£2).

Jennie Steenkamp added: “It was a bit touch and go to start with as we needed to ensure that we could run the event safely following government guidelines and we had to plan to cancel at any point.

"But, we are so grateful to the local council, safety advisory group and police for their advice and support to be able to go ahead."

With just 10 days to get the event off the ground after receiving the green light, it was all hands to the pump.

Jennie added: “This year, we have been so lucky to have had the help of so many local farmers, friends and family in getting everything ready for the run. We really couldn’t have done it without them all."

Setting off from Spring Hill Farm in Barford St Michael, the festive convoy brought delight to hundreds of local residents who turned out to watch the fleet. The number of people who braved the cold (and rain in places) to watch was incredible, with nearly the entire 35 mile route seeing spectators spread along it. There was no let up in the waving and tooting for the tractor drivers in the convoy.

Laura Horton from Katharine House Hospice said: “We have been so fortunate to have RC Baker’s support for the last few years, and they have worked diligently to ensure that this year’s Tractor Run could go ahead safely for all.

"This is absolutely reflected in their current fundraising total, which we know will support families living with life limiting illnesses. Thanks goes to the community for supporting the event, and for doing so safely. RC Baker have captured the magic of Christmas and shared it with us all, thank you!”

While RC Baker Ltd and their farming friends and colleagues start to disrobe their tractors you can still vote for your favourite tractor in the ‘Best Dressed Tractor’ competition.

Head to the Christmas Tractor Run Facebook page to vote: https://www.facebook.com/groups/141397786337360/permalink/1032818267195303/The winner will be awarded with the ‘Best Dressed Tractor 2020 Memorial Trophy,’ in memory of Tony Collier, who sadly passed away some weeks prior to this year’s event. Tony was the neighbouring farmer to the family business and Tractor Run organisers, RC Baker Ltd and judged the best dressed tractor competition in previous years.