Josephine pulls out the stops on cancer fundraising drive

Josephine Peters from Co Limerick, and her Ford 4000; 234 vehicles were registered for the recent fund-raising tractor run she launched

Despite receiving treatment, Josephine Peters organised a successful tractor drive in Knocklong recently.

Adversity is often a spur to great achievements, and rarely more so than in the case of Josephine Peters from Co Limerick, who recently organised a very successful tractor run in Knocklong to raise money for local cancer support groups.

Tractors have always been a large part of Josephine’s life, she having driven them from a very early age, and later, helped her brother, Paddy Hughes of Elton, draw silage when his contracting business was busy.

After a break for a few years, as her family grew up, she stepped back into the tractor scene three years ago, with the purchase of a Ford 4000.

Paddy Hughes is a huge and very knowledgeable fan of Ford tractors, and of Countys in particular, so it was only natural that she should set her heart on a marque that she had so many fond memories of.

Her well-kept example of the famous ‘Thousand’ series now earns its keep around the stables, as well as taking her to the many and varied tractor runs and rallies in the area.

Classic tractor fans are a charitable and generous group, who raise thousands each year for worthy causes, and Josephine entered wholeheartedly into the movement, helping to raise money throughout Tipperary and Limerick.

Last March, she was diagnosed with cancer, after suffering myriad symptoms for quite some time, and she entered a programme of treatments including chemotherapy and operations to remove tumours, an ordeal that would have set many of us back, but not Josephine.

Only a couple of months later, she decided to set about organising a fundraising event of her own, to help others who might find themselves in a similar medical situation. 

The idea was born, and the word quickly spread amongst the many friends she had made in the local tractor clubs.

The calendar of events was crowded, but April 30 was settled on, and the preparations began.

Progress was slow at first, as she was undergoing treatment while still working as a special needs assistant at Hospital School.

Yet she found the time to accompany the Border Counties Vintage Grassmen, as they passed through on their epic 32-Counties Tractor Run last autumn, a gesture they certainly didn’t forget.

It was during the last six weeks before the April 30 event when the real work was done, and Josephine recalls spending long days running around gathering sponsorship and delivering posters, an exhausting schedule as anybody who has been involved with these events will know.

Yet she managed it, with a great deal of help and goodwill from friends and family, who have supported her all the way through her ordeal.

The effort was certainly worth it, with 234 vehicles registering on the day, and the proudest moment of all was when the crew of the 32 Counties Run drove all the way down from the North to repay the hospitality she had shown them last year.

An honour she will never forget.

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