Three Strokestown TY students, who restored and raffled a 1956 Ferguson 20 vintage tractor, have raised over €60,000 for charity.
Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, a national charity providing vital play services for children with cancer, will receive €63,700, following the boy’s efforts.
The team was also pronounced Connaught winners of the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Special Recognition Awards.
Mike Snype from Strokestown won the vintage tractor, once it was returned to its former glory by the boys.
While dropping off the tractor Mike told a nice little anecdote of Jack when he was ill and begging his father Francis to go for a spin in Mike’s hedge cutting machine.
Over 6,600 tickets
The trio – Andrew Jordan, Jack Beirne and Mark Rogers – are TY students from Scoil Mhuire in Strokestown. They managed to sell a staggering 6,612 tickets all around the country.
The boys restored the tractor as part of their Transition Year enterprise project, as featured previously on That’s Farming.
They decided to donate any profits made to a charity that is special to them – Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland.
Childhood cancer survivor
Their teammate Jack, is a childhood cancer survivor, and has worked as an ambassador for the charity for a number of years.
“Making money is part of the enterprise project but helping other kids with cancer made it very easy for me and my friends to stay motivated to make this enterprise a success.”
“I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) when I was three and my family spent three and a half years going up and down to Crumlin for chemotherapy.”
“I remember the long days that we would spend in the day ward, when my parents were trying to keep me busy and play with me while I waited to go down to theatre for my chemo.”
“Now, thanks to Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, there is a play specialist on St. John’s Day Ward, helping children cope with the worries of being seriously ill, being away from home and having to go through so many procedures and treatments,” says Jack.
Childhood Cancer Foundation was founded in 2013 by parents of children with cancer to raise awareness of childhood cancer, fund emotional supports and services for children with cancer and their families.
On average, 218 children (aged 0 – 19 years) are diagnosed with cancer every year.
Andrew said the boys and their school were blown away by the support for the fundraising campaign:
“The restoration was a bit of a labour of love for us, although it was very hard work. We all love farming machinery and driving tractors and that’s how we came up with the idea in the first place.”
“When we decided to turn it into a fundraiser, we never expected that we would raise this much money! The local community have been amazing in supporting us and we were delighted that people as far away as Seattle, Vancouver and Auckland bought raffle tickets after they saw us on Nationwide.”
“We are absolutely delighted to have been able to raise money for a great cause and we want to thank everyone who entered the raffle, supported us by promoting it far and wide and the businesses who helped us along the way.”
“Agri Gear in Cava generously sponsored 4 new tyres for the Tractor, D&E McHugh in Longford who gave us a new transport box for the tractor, Connaught Agri who sponsored the second prize and Supervalu Strokestown for sponsoring the third prize,” said Andrew.
Mark said the boys received a lot of support from their local communities in Roscommon.
“We are very grateful to all the local business in Strokestown and throughout County Roscommon who supported us.”
“Also, were overwhelmed but the messages of support we received throughout the project.”
“Some of the most important messages we received was from parents and children going through cancer. We are truly delighted and humbled that we could make some little a difference for them.”
Laura Cullinan, a voluntary Director with Childhood Cancer Foundation Ireland, and a parent of a child who has also survived childhood cancer, said:
“What more can I say about these boys! We are thrilled that their efforts were recognised by the Electric Ireland GAA Minor Special Recognition Awards, which seeks out young people who have gone above and beyond in their community during the challenges of Covid-19.”
“This is so well deserved – they have been an inspiration from the moment they decided to pursue this project.”
“They have far exceeded any expectations we might have had when they approached us with their fundraising idea.”
“The current climate is extremely difficult for all charities, as normal events and fundraising campaigns cannot take place and we have to figure out how to move fundraising online, so these funds make a huge difference to our work.”