Kildare woman looking for teddy bear to strap to front of tractor

Teddy stolen in 2008 says Laura Lynn driver

Henry Bauress

Reporter:

Henry Bauress

Email:

henry.bauress@leinsterleader.ie

Kildare woman looking for teddy bear to strap to front of tractor

Jill Barrett to drive tractor in city on April 21

Kildare tractor driver, Jill Barrett, is looking for a teddy bear to strap to the front of her tractor to the help the Laura Lynn charity on April 21 coming.

Celbridge resident Jill recalls the time 10 years ago when someone stole the previous teddy, so advises donors to be prepared to part with their furry friend.

On April 21  a brand New Holland T7.230 will lead a team of volunteers in a big bucket collection to raise funds and support for Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice.

Jill will drive in the event. The events marks the tenth anniversary of Ireland’s only 32 county all-female driven tractor drive, Tractorontour 2008, that raised over €107,000 for children’s hospices in Ireland.

In 2008, Jill and her cousin, Louise, took in turns to drive 1,800 km around Ireland.

This month the Kildare based tractor, coming from Lyons and Burton on the Clane road,  Kilcock, will negotiate Dublin city centre traffic (Gardai have permitted) and 60 volunteers will collect for Laura Lynn.

Speaking of the tractor front, Jill said: “At the moment we have Dessie the Dog who is looking fairly miserable. Why wouldn't he be at the prospect of being driven at speed (max 31.8mph) through the streets of Dublin on April 21, potentially in the driving rain and freezing cold.”  

But readers can save Dessie this terrible fate by letting the people of Ireland know that Jill, a self employed business coach, and the fundraisers are looking for a giant teddy (or indeed any giant cuddly toy) to strap to the front of  their tractor. “When we attempted this feat before on Tractorontour 2008 some mean person robbed Teddy while we were in Athlone so they need to know that there is a risk that their beloved may not be returned in one piece or at all. Such are the sacrifices for a great cause.”

Said Jill: “Last time out we had some celebrity drivers including Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness and we also managed to manoeuvre Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore into some signed rugby jerseys in Stephen's Green so.you never know what's going to happen.”

The bucket collection takes place from 9am to 6pm on the O’Connell Street and Grafton Street areas as the tractor is driven in and around the city centre, replete with a large selection of cuddly toys, hoping to have their photograph taken and be interviewed!

Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice was established by Jane McKenna who lost her only two children, Laura and Lynn to a heart defect and leukaemia respectively, within 18 months of one another.

It provides palliative care and support for children with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Their holistic approach to care enables the hospice team to support the whole family, allowing parents to be ‘Mum and Dad’ rather than full-time carers.  Support is provided for children from birth to age 18, is free for families and children can be referred from anywhere in Ireland.

Their LauraLynn@HOME programme, provides hospice care for children in the comfort of their own home in Dublin North-East and Dublin Mid-Leinster Regions.

The corporate sponsors for Tractorontour 2018, including New Holland, the Temple Bar Hotel and Horizon Digital Print, have made this event possible, ensuring that every cent raised can go directly to Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice.

To contact them Facebook: fb.me/tractorontour

Twitter: BarrettJill and tractorontour*

Instagram: tractorontour*

The Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice site is: https://lauralynn.ie