By David Hennessy
Organisers are reaching out to the Irish community in the UK and around the world for their help with the world’s first virtual, global tractor run.
The Skip Car Tour Team in Armagh hold a fundraising weekend every May to help raise funds for Marie Curie and The Southern Area Hospice Services.
Backed by main sponsor McGeown Commercials and long time tractor run sponsor S G Curry Ltd, the group have managed to raise £420,000 over the last eight years through hosting their annual fundraising charity weekends which consists of The Orchard Truck Run, The Tractor Run and live country music.
With it impossible to hold the event this year, the organisers have decided to create a virtual version that people from around the world can get involved in.
Sean McArdle of Skip Car Tour told The Irish World: “It’s been fantastic over the years but unfortunately this year restrictions won’t allow it which is absolutely right and knowing that the charities that we raise the money for are in dire straits, we sat down in group chats to think, what could we do? Why not try to do a virtual one?
“We will be hosting a virtual truck and tractor run, as well as a kids virtual truck and tractor run, and inviting people of all ages to get involved and send us in videos of their trucks, tractors and toy trucks and tractors, in the hope that they will make a small donation through our Go Fund Me page when sharing their clips.”
Country singer Paul Kelly,a long term supporter of the initiative, said: “One of our biggest gigs every year was playing at the Skip Car Crew big weekend. Unfortunately that can’t happen this present time this year. Hopefully later on in the year it might happen or we might have to postpone until next year.
“But what we’re going to try and do is a virtual truck and tractor run. It’s really exciting. There never has been one of these done anywhere in the world, we’ve checked.
“What we’ll do is get everybody to send a short video clip of your tractor, your truck, send it to us and we’re going to put it together and make a video of it which will be shown.
“It’s a great idea. I want to thank everybody from the Skip Car crew for taking this board and including myself in it.
“I want all my friends not only in Ireland and the UK but all over the world, get in touch.
“We’re doing all this for two great charities. We need to make this massive. It’s the first one in the whole world. We are going to make this big.”
The fundraising initiative has a link with North West London with world champion Irish dancer Joe McGeown, who has a family connection with Sean McArdle, performing at their first ever gala night.
Sean says: “Joe was our special guest at it last year. He came home and he danced for all the locals here who had never seen Joe dancing before. It was fantastic to have a two time world champion with us and it went down a storm.”
Skip Car Tour ask for people to send their video clips of their lorries, trucks and tractors to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they’re also encouraging families to get involved by sending in videos of their youngsters on their toy trucks and tractors for the Virtual Kids Truck & Tractor Run. Clips must arrive before Tuesday 19 May.
All clips will be montaged and displayed on the weekend of May 23 – 24.
You can contribute to the GoFundMe page here.