Tractor run in memory of Matt Vanstone

On Saturday 18th September Winkleigh & Bow YFC held a tractor run in memory of Matt Vanstone. Matt was a popular young farmer who sadly took his own life last year.

All in all, there were 111 tractors on the run and the event raised £3817.50. With the majority of the proceedings going to The Farming Community Network. The Farming Community Network (FCN) is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community through difficult times.

Matt has left a huge hole in the community, so his friends and local YF Clubs thought it was important to get together to remember him and also to raise awareness of the FCN Charity.

We had representatives from the Charity, giving out literature and merchandise and #Chat4Matt stickers, which were made and being sold by a local business, The Tattooed Crafter, with all proceeds going to the charity. There was a DYNO at the finish – courtesy of Tractor Tuning UK, which was very popular and had all of the tractor fans in excitement and he, too, gave all money to the charity.

Having the support of the Police & Highways, we were able to set off all 111 tractors in groups of 20.

John Deere’s were Matt’s favourite make of tractor – so it was pushed to have as many as possible there. A huge 46 John Deere’s took pride of place leading the 22 mile tractor run, with Matt’s family at the front. Other popular makes, together with a good group of classic tractors followed the John Deere procession. We started on Winkleigh Airfield, where Devon Plant Services Ltd had kindly allowed us to use their yard, before going through Iddesleigh, Hatherleigh Moor, Exbourne and past Matt’s family farm on the way back to the finish.

Once back, we all enjoyed a pasty and a talk about the importance of Mental Health and supporting others from the FCN SW Regional Director, Stephen Dennis, as well as a word from Matt’s Father, Alistair. We followed this with a huge raffle – with all of the very generous prizes being donated from all local businesses. There were 38 amazing prizes in total, ranging from a chainsaw to John Deere merchandise, a drill to huge pub vouchers, cakes and a blue point set! We can’t thank the local businesses enough for all of their generosity in supporting our event. Over £1,500 was raised solely on the raffle!

We would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to everybody involved in the organisation of this tractor run, those that joined us on the run, those that cheered us on around the route, donated prizes or turned up on foot to support – without your support, this event couldn’t have gone ahead! A particularly special thank you goes to Matt’s family, Jack Luscombe, Henry Greenhalf, Molly Brook & James Pearce for really going above and beyond organising the event.