Preparations are underway for the annual ‘Light up the Night’ tractor and truck run, which grew from a group of North Kilkenny natives’ desires to highlight suicide awareness, mental health issues, resources and supports.
Established in 2016, its next event will take place in Ballyragget, Co. Kilkenny, on New Year’s Eve following a two-year Covid-19-induced break.
Speaking to That’s Farming editor, Catherina Cunnane, ahead of the event, Freddie Farrell commented:
“Initially, this was set up as an awareness event. Our initial aim of ‘Light up the Night’ was to do exactly that; we lit up the two highest points of North Kilkenny with hundreds of highly illuminated flashing tractors.”
“At the same time, we had a convoy of illuminated trucks on a more truck-friendly route, which was highly visible to tractor drivers and spectators, and vice versa between trucks and tractors.”
However, donations “began rolling in”, and in recent years, this run has raised €60,000, which organisers have distributed to local mental health and suicide awareness charities.
Farrell continued: “I am a part-time farmer and part-time factory worker. We believe that by creating suicide awareness events, we may get one person talking about their situation.”
“Also, there is probably no family that has not been touched by mental health issues,” he added.
Tractor and truck run details
The event will kick off at dusk on New Year’s Eve as tractors head off to the highest point of North Kilkenny, and simultaneously trucks take an alternative route.
“At present, we hope to take to the hills with our convoys around 4.30 pm, returning at approximately 6.30 pm and finishing the night off with a cabaret and raffle in Ballyragget later.”
“Any help or assistance with this event would be gratefully accepted by our team of volunteers.”
“If you feel you would be in a position to donate financially or would like to sponsor a raffle prize or assist in any other way, please give me a shout.”
“There may be something small that you could offer to our group that would tremendously help,” he concluded.