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Turning the ‘beast' into a ‘beauty'

July 28th, 2016 7:25 AM

By Jackie Keogh

The tractor restored to pristine condition and ready to be raffled to raise funds for Union Hall RNLI.

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A CERTIFIABLY-DAFT idea has been translated into €5,000 for the RNLI.

‘€5,000 is just the start,’ said Pamela Deasy, who is the press officer with Union Hall’s RNLI Lifeboat Station.

Pamela explained that Michael O’Sullivan, a lecturer at Lackham Agriculture College in Wiltshire, offered to deconstruct a wreck of a tractor, a Massey Ferguson 135, and restore it to its former glory.

Michael, together with four lecturers and seven students, travelled to West Cork last week and began work in earnest at 6am on Wednesday, July 13th on the pier in Union Hall.

 It took the team just two hours to deconstruct the old tractor that had been labelled ‘the beast’ and, by 3 o’clock on Thursday morning, they ended up with ‘the beauty.’ 

Although tired, the team were thrilled at the pristine and fully functioning condition of the tractor, which will be raffled at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore on September 22nd.

So far, €5,000 has been raised through ticket sales, but with a single ticket priced at €5, and five tickets selling for €20, both Pamela and Michael believe they can raise €25,000 for the RNLI in Union Hall.

The money is needed for the first phase of what will hopefully be a permanent lifeboat station because the current service is only on a two-year trial basis.

‘There are a lot of expenses involved in operating a lifeboat station,’ said Pamela, ‘but the training of our volunteer crew is our priority.

‘We are pleased to announce that the first four helms made the grade – including Richie Browne and Chris Collins on Tuesday, July 12th, and Stephen Hurley and Martin Limrick on Wednesday, July 13th – all of which made for a double celebration.’

Michael O’Sullivan, whose late father, Patrick, came from Union Hall, told The Southern Star that he offered to do the fundraiser because he had been moved by the community’s selfless response to the Tit Bonhomme tragedy in January 2012.

Michael decided to do something that would try to involve the whole community. And that certainly was the case last Wednesday, because hundreds of people called to watch the tractor being assembled right throughout the day and some local mechanics also put their shoulder to the wheel.

The old ruin of a tractor was sourced at a cost of €600 by the fundraising committee in Union Hall, but Michael and the crew were up to the challenge and they are confident that it is now worth in the region of €20,000.

In an ideal scenario it would exceed the fundraising target, especially if people want to show their support for Union Hall’s bid to secure a permanent lifeboat station.

The project is already attracting plenty of goodwill, including a generous contribution by AGCO of £5,200 worth of parts that have already gone into the restoration of the 135. 

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