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Welcome Home Bert

Bert is rolling on home. After what we hope is a successful journey, the Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club will be excited to return in the 1983 20 D Massey Ferguson (otherwise known as Bert) to a warm reception at the Ascot Park Hotel. Families, media and well-wishers are invited to show their support and welcome the trekkers home.

The drivers have ventured 1200 km from E Hayes & Sons to the Christchurch Charity Hospital. This has been a very intentional journey as it places emphasis on the Southern DHB border. Currently there is some misinformation that only patients within the Southland region are eligible for treatment. Therefore, it is important that patients from Bluff all the way to Oamaru know they are in zone for specialist treatment from the Southland Charity Hospital. While the Hospital is being built, treatment is being untertaken on a referral basis by a private hospital in order to benefit patients requiring urgent care.

There is also a special relationship between the two charity hospitals. Christchurch Charity Hospital was founded in 2007 and until last year had been one of only two Charitable Hospitals operational in New Zealand. They have been supportive in setup and providing crucial benchmark statistics. Based on figures provided from Christchurch, the Southland Charity Hospital expects to have the capacity to treat between 800-1000 patients a year who otherwise would not get treatment.

3000 people are diagnosed with bowel cancer every year but despite being one of the most treatable cancers (90 percent curable when detected early) it kills over 1200 people annually in NZ. A key goal of the Southland Charity Hospital is to address the unmet need for health services for those who are currently being turned away from publicly funded care.

"We are thrilled that the Thornbury Tractor Club have taken this momentous journey in our honour.

What was such a simple idea will have a huge impact on our message to the community of Southland that we in fact cover the whole Southern DHB.

I know they have received huge support along the way - with people feeding them at every town and I have no doubt they will raise a significant amount of money.

I hope they have had fun and enjoyed their trek and we look forward to welcoming them home safe and sound"

-Helen Robinson, Southland Charity Hospital General Manager

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