Retired Brit expat couple plan 900-mile charity fundraising trip by tractor

Published:  24 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, UK, Money, Euro, England
An intrepid pair of retired UK expats living in France are undertaking a charity drive back to the UK in a vintage tractor.

John and Kathy Elliot, formerly residents of the historic Derbyshire hill town of Buxton, decided on the fundraiser after watching close friend Emma Getcliffe die of motor neuron disease just two years after her diagnosis. Before she died, John promised her he’d do the drive in her memory in order to raise money to aid research into the deadly disease. The condition affects the brain and nervous system, causing progressive muscle weakness, with sufferers eventually choking to death.

The retired couple have lived in France for the past 15 years, during which time they were gifted a 1957 D22 Renault tractor by another friend. The 900-mile journey will take the couple around a month, as the vintage tractor’s top safe speed is 15 mph, with 20 mph just possible on smooth roads, even after John’s renovations in preparation for the trip. The classic tractor now has all new tyres, an engine overhaul, a cabin to keep out bad weather and a spring-loaded drivers’ seat essential for a comfortable ride, all at a cost of around £2,500. For overnight stops, John's also converted a trailer into a basic caravan complete with a stove and will tow it behind the tractor.

The couple can’t quite believe they’re actually doing this at their ages of 78 and 76, with John telling local reporters he’s actually quite excited. He’s hoping the drive will gather social media interest and draw lots of donations via his Facebook page, and is reassuring his worried friends he’ll keep to quieter roads wherever possible. The trip will start on 13th June, with all proceeds to be donated to the Motor Neuron Disease Association. Would-be sponsors are being asked to donate at
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