Nidderdale tractor run in memory of Mike Spink reaches huge fundraising milestone

A tractor run through the Nidderdale countryside has now raised more than £30,000 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance over the last three years in memory of a late dairy farmer from Knaresborough.

Some 301 tractors took part in a drive around the countryside organised by the friends of the late Mr Spink. Picture by Rachel Fawcell.

The annual spectacle is organised by friends of Mike Spink at Knaresborough Young Farmers’ Club. A former member of the club, Mr Spink died at the age of 24 in a road accident whilst he was working on a farm in New Zealand in 2017.

Some 301 tractors - 126 more than last year - turned out for the latest tractor run in his memory at the weekend.

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So far, this year’s event has raised more than £13,000 for the air ambulance charity, with donations still coming in.

Yorkshire Air Ambulance operates out of the Nostell Priory Estate near Wakefield and RAF Topcliffe near Thirsk, and it relies on donations. Keeping both of its air ambulances in the air costs £12,000 per day - equivalent to £4.4m a year.

James Parker, a member of Knaresborough Young Farmers’ Club, paid tribute to all the spectators, marshals and helpers – including Mr Spink’s mother and aunties – who supported the tractor run on Sunday.

Despite rainy conditions, supporters lined the route, which passed through Pateley Bridge, to cheer the tractor drivers on.

Mr Parker said “It’s always a very emotional event - certainly goosebumps down the back of the neck when all the tractors set off.

“The wet weather didn’t seem to put anybody off.

“Those in the modern tractors were warm and cosy, but those in the vintage ones, without cabs, deserve extra thanks for turning out.”

A number of other smaller tractor runs, which Mr Spink was involved in before his death have also raised funds in his memory, and he has also been honoured by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society who present The Michael Spink Memorial Perpetual Trophy to the Ayrshire Heifer Champion at the Great Yorkshire Show.