Tractor trip raises money for cancer

Tracto fundraiser: Dubbo Elders  branch manager Martin Simmons, with Pink Angels founder Donna Falconer, Tail End Charlie organiser Ron Bywaters and Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group member Sam Exelby. Photo: Taylor Jurd
Tracto fundraiser: Dubbo Elders branch manager Martin Simmons, with Pink Angels founder Donna Falconer, Tail End Charlie organiser Ron Bywaters and Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group member Sam Exelby. Photo: Taylor Jurd

If you were driving through the central west on Tuesday you may have noticed a very special tractor among the vehicles on the road.

Tail End Charlie, as the tractor is known, plus the four drivers and convoy have been travelling across Australia to raise awareness for prostate and breast cancer in rural communities across the nation.

The trip began in Western Australia in July and will finish in Notham in September.

Tail End Charlie’s story began in 1957, when a then 22 year-year-old Ron Bywaters entered a 1955 Chamberlain Tractor as a support vehicle in the Mobilas Round Australia Rally.

In 2007 Ron and his crew decided to re-enact the 1957 Rally, all the while raising money for Breast Cancer Association of WA and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

This year saw the 60th anniversary of that first rally.

The Tail End Charlie crew stopped by Dubbo Elders on the Tuesday for a special lunch and to meet with local Breast Cancer and Prostate Cancer support groups.

While they are still fundraising for cancer this year, Mr Bywater said the aim was more about spreading the message of awareness.

Mr Bywaters said prevention was better than cure.

“We want to get the message out to everyone to start looking after their health,” Mr Bywaters said.

“During this trip we’ve spoken to a lot of survivors who have shared their stories with us.

“Everyone knows someone affected by cancer in some way or another… all we’re asking is for people to go and get a regular medical check-up.”

The tractor has the same road conditions as any other vehicle on the road, although the crew are avoiding freeways.

It does about 60 km/hour and when the Western Magazine spoke to Mr Bywaters on the Tuesday he said they had covered almost 3000 km and will do about 15,000 km in total.

The Tail End Charlie crew are paying their own way for the trip.

If you would like to find out more information or wish to donate then please visit  www.tailendcharliethetractor.org

For those in the central west area who are looking for support or information you may wish to visit pinkangels.org.au or email Dubbo Prostate Cancer Support Group’s John Allen on john.elizabethallen@bigpond.com