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Big Bird Raises Funds For Southland Charity Hospital

Raising funds for the Southland Charity Hospital has taken on a new direction as eight members of the Thornbury Vintage Tractor and Implement Club embark on a mammoth 1200-kilometre Tractor Trek from Invercargill to Christchurch.

Club members will take turns driving a yellow Massey Ferguson 20D (a 1980s model imported from the UK) which has been named Big Bird by local school children.

The Tractor Trek, the brainchild of the club, is raising money for the Southland Charity Hospital and will leave E Hayes in Dee Street at 11am on Sunday 2 May 2021.

After travelling along SH1 at an average speed of 30km an hour the tired drivers are expected to arrive 24 hours later at the Canterbury Charity Hospital in Harewood Road, Christchurch, at 11am on Monday 3 May 2021.

The Tractor Trek concept was initiated by club member Tom Parkes, and it was one club president Fraser Pearce was immediately drawn to.

“We wanted to look at a different way of raising funds for the Southland Charity Hospital,” says Fraser Pearce.

“Everybody’s got a cancer story. We’ve all followed Melissa and the late Blair Vining’s story closely, and a lot of us know what cancer can do, so if we can help, that’s great.”

Blair Vining himself, who helped launch the Southland Charity Hospital in his final stages of bowel cancer in 2019, spent many hours driving a tractor as part of his job, so it seems fitting that a Tractor Trek will serve as a fundraiser for the hospital.

Tractor treks are nothing new to the Thornbury club as they form part of their usual activities and they have held fundraisers in the past. And this one will be special – because it is one tractor and it is non-stop. And it falls in the midst of the club’s 65- year celebrations.

The plan after arriving in Christchurch is to have a couple of hours’ rest at the Canterbury Charity Hospital and then start on the return journey home by tractor.

The public can support the Tractor Trek by texting Tractor to 4644 which automatically donates $3 to the Southland Charity Hospital and can also sponsor the trek online at

Media are invited to follow the Tractor Trek on its journey between Invercargill and Christchurch by contacting Fraser Pearce, one of the drivers, and attend their arrival at Canterbury Charity Hospital, 349 Harewood Road, Bishopdale at 11am on Monday 3 May 2021.

Southland Charity Hospital: Helen Robinson 0210 473 592 or
Tractor Trek during their journey: Fraser Pearce, 021 0385 196
Canterbury Charity Hospital/contact for Christchurch arrival: Rosie Graham, 021 160 2066

Tractor Trek Schedule

Sunday 2 May 2021

11am Tractor Trek departs E Hayes, 168 Dee Street, Invercargill. Support from E Hayes and Invercargill Fire Service.

12pm Arrive Edendale. Support from Edendale Crank Up and Edendale School.

12.30pm Arrive Mataura

1pm Arrive Gore. Support from Gore Pakeke Lions and Gore Fire Station.

2pm Arrive through Clinton triangle.

5pm Arrive Balclutha. Support from Balclutha Vets.

6.30pm Arrive Milton

7.30pm Arrive Monona

8pm Arrive Kinmont Park

8.30pm Arrive Dunedin

Monday 3 May 2021 (halfway point will be Oamaru at approx. 2am)

5am Arrive Timaru

7am Arrive Ashburton

9am Arrive Rolleston

11am Tractor Trek finishes at the Canterbury Charity Hospital, 349 Harewood Road, Bishopdale, Christchurch.

1pm Tractor leaves Canterbury Charity Hospital and returns to Invercargill via SH1 arriving back in Invercargill on Tuesday 4 May 2021.

© Scoop Media

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