Anyone who has a child at some stage faces the possibility of having to spend some time in Crumlin Hospital.
In the face of continuous cuts to the health service, volunteer fundraising at a local level has never been more important. That is what the Ballyragget Classic Tractor Run is all about.
This is the seventh year that the tractor run has taken place, and each year it has been an overwhelming success. Prior to this year, some E186,000 had been raised in total for the cause. While the final tally for this year has not yet been fully added, it is expected to have taken this total to the E200,000 mark.
“Everyone has either been to Crumlin Hospital, or knows someone who has been there,” says one of the event organisers, Freddie Farrell.
“When it started, most people involved mightn’t have had kids, but now many do.”
Six shiny tractors left Ballyragget on Friday morning. Their route was as follows: Ballyragget, Castlecomer, Carlow, Athy, Stradbally and then Tramore, where they stayed overnight.
Along the way, in every town, people gave generously. When they got back to Ballyragget on Saturday, there was a charity auction and cabaret night, which raised further funds.
Not everyone travels with the tractors, however. Other volunteers are vital for going around with buckets or sponsorship cards, organising the other events, or even chopping sticks for charity auction prizes. In total, over 40 people were involved in this sort of action.
“One thing we are very proud of is the fact that every cent we have collected goes to the charity,” says Mr Farrell.
“There’s no expenses from it. Our diesel is sponsored, our extra signage is all sponsored.”
The organising committee wishes to thank everyone who volunteered or gave of their time to collect funds or help in any way.