AN unusual idea to take a totally wrecked tractor, restore it, and sell raffle tickets to raise money for the RNLI has brought a community together and made one 92-year old woman very happy.
‘I am delighted to say that after selling lots and lots of tickets that the winner is Kay Kelly from Carlow,’ said Pamela Deasy of the RNLI fundraising committee in Union Hall.
Kay’s grandson, David O’Toole, was one of the willing students who worked on the tractor.
He’d brought 100 tickets back to Carlow, and his grandmother was just one of the family members he press-ganged in to buying a ticket.
David is actually attending the same college as Mike O’Sullivan, the agricultural lecturer, who came up with the idea to carry out this fundraising initiative.
According to Pamela: ‘Kay was delighted with her win. She said the only thing she’d ever won before was a St Anthony statue shortly after starting national school.’
Kay was a most gracious winner of the coveted tractor, but she didn’t hesitate to hop on when it came time to having her photo taken.
The wreck of the Massey Ferguson 135 tractor – an inert, rust bucket that had left behind its glory days in the 1960s – was landed at the pier in Union Hall on July 13th last.
Mike O’Sullivan, who was inspired by the Union Hall community’s caring and can-do attitude during the Tit Bonhomme tragedy, enlisted the help of five other lecturers and seven students from Wiltshire College, the agriculture and engineering college at which he teaches.
Within 21 hours, the tractor went from looking like a rust bucket to becoming a showroom show-stopper.
It was transported to Tullamore on Saturday, September 17th and then went on display at the National Ploughing Championships at Screggan, where lots of people bought a ticket in the hopes of winning it, as well as supporting the RNLI.
According to Pamela, ‘Mike’s target was €25,000 but although we still don’t have a final sum, we know we have exceeded that amount. It’s a fantastic result because that money will be used to train our crews and kit them out.’
It costs an average of €2,000 per crew member, and with a volunteer crew of 18, that is a lot of fundraising.