Pink Ladies’ Tractor Run celebrates a successful year and smashes through £3⁄4 million

The iconic Pink Ladies’ Tractor Road Run returned in style this weekend as a convoy of 105 decorated tractors wound their way through south Norfolk and north Suffolk.

The group, who were hoping to smash through a fundraising total of more than £3⁄4 million this year, have already surpassed their target and are on their way to raising thousands more.

With last year’s event cancelled due to the pandemic, this year’s run took place on Sunday 4th July.

Since it began in 2004 the event has raised more than £750,000 in aid of Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer appeal.

Organised by Annie Chapman BEM, the annual run started at Thorpe Abbotts airfield and then passed through Brockdish, Upper Weybread, Harleston, Pulham St. Mary, Rushall and Langmere Green.

Socially distanced crowds packed the route while family and friends joined the ladies at a picnic lunch in the sunshine at Gawdy Hall meadow.

Annie Chapman said: “It is very special this year because we are coming to the end of the pandemic and we had to cancel last year’s run. To get out with other people has been stunning and the effort made has been stunning.

“Harleston was incredible, I was choked up driving through the town. People were cheering from one end of the town to the other and in villages, in laybys and gardens along the route.

“It was very humbling to see how many people turned out to support the ladies and they deserve support, they are very courageous.

“We’ve already raised over £750,000 because of all the online donations. We are so very nearly at £1million. I’m hoping this year we will get up to £800,000.

“Everyone knows someone who has had cancer and the support means so much because all we can do is raise money to help with research. What else can we do.”

All photos © Jonathan Slack

Jane Broomhall, who lives near Long Stratton in south Norfolk, was taking part in her 15th run. She said: “I’ve never been through Harleston and seen so many people. For both sad and joyful reasons, I pretty much cried all the way through the town – I found it amazing, it was phenomenal.

“At the picnic lunch everyone can sit and be with their families and hopefully remember the people who they have lost. Life has to go on but it’s difficult sometimes.

This year more than 30 ladies new to the run took place including the Beat Manager for South Norfolk rural crime, PC Sue Matthews – on a police tractor.

She said: “I saw the run last year and thought I’d love to give it a go and it’s been absolutely brilliant.”

Lynne Ainge who had travelled from Ireland to take part in the event said: “It was emotional. There were more people watching and the clapping and thumbs up made me feel so emotional.

“It was 20 years ago last week that my mother died of cancer, it was like an anniversary, I cried all the way through Harleston, I was trying to laugh and cry at the same time.”

Annie Chapman said: “As with any event of this size it cannot be achieved without the support of many people. I would like to express my thanks to all tractor owners, land-owners, the many marshals, collecting ladies and anyone else who helps to make this event happen, it’s a large team effort!”

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