Charity Fundraisers have the X-Tractor

Two intrepid North East men are set to motor their way across the width of the country in aid of charity – at the breakneck speed of 15mph.
Robert Kearton (photographed on the right) and best friend Robert Morrell (photographed on the left), both 21 from Barnard Castle, are taking the high road when it comes to charity fundraising and will be driving two vintage Massey Ferguson tractors coast-to-coast in order to raise money for OYT North. (

The 180-mile journey from Whitehaven to Whitby will start on 22nd April and take three days, with up to eight hours each day spent driving.

Robert Kearton says that he hopes the epic journey will generate interest in OYT North, which is the only organisation in the entire North East that helps young people to develop important life skills through sail training.

He said: “I was lucky enough to have been able to sail with OYT North during the Tall Ships Race 2010 and it was an amazing opportunity. I really learnt a lot about team work and responsibility while on board and I had so much fun becoming part of the crew, meeting new people from all across the world and seeing fantastic new places.

“Since then I have continued to volunteer with OYT North and I think the work they do with young people is really important. I decided it was time to give something back – that’s when I had the idea for this challenge.

“People travel coast-to-coast on bikes, so I thought, ‘Why not on tractors?’ I’ve been collecting vintage tractors for nine years now, so I thought this would be a great chance to get them out on the road for a really good cause.

“Robert decided to come along to help me raise money because he’s heard me talking about how good OYT North is. We’re hoping that we can raise around £1,000 by the time we get to Whitby, which will help other young people from the region to take advantage of the sail training programmes available.

“We’re setting up a site for people to sponsor us, but in the meantime if people want to show their support by making a donation they can call the OYT North office.”

Steve Lennon, General Manager of OYT North, said: “As a charity we rely on the good will and generosity of others to be able to continue our work with the young people of the North East. However we have been completely blown away by the efforts of these two young men to support us and cannot thank them enough.

“I’ve sailed through high seas and freezing temperatures, but I don’t think even I would fancy spending three days straight in a drafty tractor. I really commend them for their intrepid mission and the James Cook will be ready and waiting to welcome them when they arrive in Whitby on the 24th April.”

Alan Thorn (photographed in the centre), Parts Manager at the Barnard Castle branch of Carrs Billington Agriculture, has donated thick Massey Ferguson boilersuits for the pair to keep them warm on the journey. Company AGCO, who produce Massey Ferguson vehicles, are also donating jackets for the pair to lend their backing.

Alan Thorn said: “The boys have been customers for years and are really good lads who get on well with everyone. When we heard about their idea all the staff wanted to show their support for them.

“We all know how cold a North East spring can get, so we’ve decided to donate some really thick boilersuits to the lads to make sure they keep nice and warm on their journey. We wish them all the best and hopefully they’ll raise loads of cash for a great cause.”

The two men will leaving from Whitehaven at 9am Friday 22nd April and will arrive in Whitby Sunday 24th.

UPDATE:  OYT North would like to offer Robert Kearton and Robert Morrell a very big THANK YOU for their fundraising efforts in aid of OYT North. The pair raised an amazing £2009 when completing their recent Coast to Coast tractor drive. OYT North would also like to thank everyone who supported them throught their trip.

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