SEEING the turnout at Crediton in support, it was totally understandable that Pete Burdass found his 1,200-miles tractor run so emotional.
He was driving his 1949 Ferguson T20 from John O’Groats to Lands End, the first time it has been done with a TVO tractor, to raise funds for Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
His mother died from the disease on her 60th birthday and he resolved then to “do something big” to raise funds.
“I don’t think you get much bigger than this,” he said after arriving at Mole Avon at Crediton on Wednesday afternoon, June 14.
He was amused that someone doing the same trip on a new combine left John O’Groats at the same time as he, but they completed the trip in four days, Pete was taking 12.
He said he had missed the storms of last weekend. “We had just got to our accommodation in time to miss it at Coventry but the heat of the past four days had been a bit much, lots of sun cream.
“It has been emotional all the way down,” he said. Judging by the way Pete greeted the two people with MND at Crediton, it was easy to see what he was sharing.
“There was always someone to see us on the way down who has MND. Everyone who has contributed sponsorship has been affected,” said Pete. Their trailer was plastered with stickers and names of sponsors.
Their biggest escort was the 70 tractors who went with Pete over the Humber Bridge. At Crediton they were only allowed five, to their intense disappointment.
At Gillingham in Dorset, Pete was delighted to see three tractors parked up on the flyover as he drove past.
“People have contributed accommodation along the way free-of-charge. It is amazing just how good people are,” said Pete.
With Pete was his mascot, a teddy bear called Ted. He has been Pete’s “wingman” over the past year selling raffle tickets with the prize being himself.
Peter had driven on to Coldridge to see Michael Thorne’s collection, which he said was fascinating. One or two Crediton people went too and one at least went on to Strawberry Fields, the farm shop at Lifton on Thursday. Pete left at mid morning on Thursday, his last call of the trip. He aimed to be at Lands End on Thursday evening.
A relay of drivers were taking his tractor back to his home village in Scotland for a sheep show on the Saturday.
John Moore reported that £614.81 was put in the collecting buckets at Crediton, with more donations to be added.
He thanked Mole Avon for its generous donations of cold drinks, sun hats and sun glasses as well as Dave Munday of Sandford Gate Milk Company which has a vending machine at Mole Avon, for giving milk shakes plus 10p from every bottle of milk sold there that day.
John added: “Crediton did a good job, and thank you to everyone who supported MND and Pete as well as all the members of Mid Devon Tractor Engine and Machinery Group.”