National Vintage Tractor Run 2019
The event was the National Vintage Tractor Road Run with over 300 tractors taking part from around the UK. It takes place on Easter Sunday at different venues each year. As a mark of respect, because it is Easter Sunday, a member of the clergy is always invited to give a blessing. A similar event is held locally every year, organised by the Priory Rose Tractor Road Run, to raise money for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, but this is the first year the event has been a national one.
Reverend Shelagh was approached by one of the local organisers and invited to give the blessing, after Gordon Spurdens' funeral last year. She has been involved with the organisers as part of the planning process and found it a very useful experience, a chance to get to know more people from the farming community and to understand some of their concerns. They told her they were praying that their lifestock would be kept safe at night and that they wouldn’t have things stolen from their farms. They were looking to this blessing to be especially for them.
On the day of the event, Rev Shelagh joined the Mayor of Wakefield and his consort, the founder and the organiser of the event on one of the trailers. A crowd of over 200 people gathered to hear the opening remarks and join in the blessing. As the tractors started to leave the ground, Rev Shelagh sprinkled each one with holy water, which had been blessed in church, at dawn, that morning.
After the event, Rev Shelagh said ‘It was a very emotional and moving experience to see tractors from all over England, Scotland and Wales with some real vintage machines and some more modern ones. It was like a history and geography of farming all in that one field. I have been thinking about how events like this build bridges between people - we can go over to them, they can come over to us. It’s hard to quantify what happens when you do something like that, but the Lord is involved and it will go in its own way. It was great fun to be part of it. I got soaked, and I got through more sticks than I thought I would, because bits kept falling off! I’m so glad I took the opportunity when I was offered it. It was a much more positive experience than I ever would have imagined.'
Here are a selection of photos from the event. It's impossible to publish them all but if we've missed someone local and you let us know their entry number of a detailed description of the tractor/driver, we'll do our best to find it for you.
Thanks to John Stanley and Martin Stacey for some of the photos