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Redrock Orange Lodge Tractor Run raises over £7,500 for Air Ambulance

David Dalzell, winner of best decorated tractor pictured with officers of Redrock LOL 788

The inaugural Tractor Run organised by a Co. Armagh Orange Lodge has proved to be a big hit, raising over £7,500 for Air Ambulance NI.

The event, which took place on Saturday, December 16, saw a brilliant total of 86 tractors take part – starting and finishing in the hamlet of Redrock, near Markethill.

Redrock Purple Star Heroes LOL 788 decided to hold the event to raise monies for the Air Ambulance, a vital community resource that takes in excess of £5,000 a day to keep running.

The route took a few hours to complete via country roads bringing them through Markethill, Hamiltonsbawn and Armagh, before returning back to the hall via Ballymacnab and the picturesque Seagahan Dam.

Members of the Lodge had been preparing for the days proceedings for several months, sorting out paperwork, a raffle, an auction and general organisation, before the main business at hand got underway on Saturday morning.

Lodge members and helpers gathered early to get the hall ready and prep for food that evening, and then registration proper for the tractors began around 1pm- a glass of hot mulled wine on hand for everyone outside to help better deal with the chilly winter air.

Shortly after 2pm, Worshipful Master of the Lodge Mervyn Hawthorne welcomed everyone along and introduced a representative from the Air Ambulance NI to explain the work that it takes to run this very valuable resource.

Following the address, Deputy Master Kyle Black got the main event underway with a call of ‘start your engines’.

An impressive stream of vehicles took off, with the crowd gathered at the hall visibly enjoying the spectacle. A large number of participants had taken a call to decorate their tractors for Christmas onboard, and alongside many Christmas lights, a lot of tinsel and several Santa Clause’ and sleighs were on display. There was even a Christmas tree!

Back at base all drivers were treated to a good hearty meal cooked by the hands of Lodge members and ladies.

A raffle was then drawn, with prizes coming from businesses across the local area and beyond. There was also an auction held, with a ‘phenomenal’ display of generosity.

Speaking on the days proceedings, Lodge Deputy Master Kyle Black said: “The Purple Star Heroes would like to thank every single person who contributed to the success of the day including those who provided raffle and auction prizes, those who stepped in to marshal, and those lodge members and ladies who registered the vehicles, prepared and served food, collected monies, and generally lifted and led/ cleared and cleaned.

“Thanks to our excellent auctioneer, and to the winner of the prize for the best decorated tractor Davy Dalzell for donating his prize back to the charity.”

He added: “Whilst the final tally will take a week or two to come in, the brethren of 788 are very happy to report that already just over £7,500 has been raised, illustrating yet again that an Orange Lodge isn’t just some small side-line on the fringes, it is a central and valuable part of the community…

“We hope that in the future all those who contributed will consider once again assisting us in this goal as we seek to make our local area, indeed our Country as a whole, a more positive and prosperous place for all.”

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