When I signed off from my last Pink Ladies column, I boldly made the claim that in the coming month I would hop on my bike and attempt to cycle the 20-mile route that makes up the Pink Ladies Tractor Road Run.
I wanted to familiarise myself with what was in store.
It’s fair to say that I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a fair weather cyclist.
It’s either been too wet, too windy or too imposing!
As the big day draws ever nearer, fundraising efforts in aid of the run are escalating across the region.
The women who take part are a feisty, driven bunch who are not content with sponsorship alone.
Individually and collectively they are hosting events and undertaking challenges to help the Run raise the £104,000 it needs to reach a whopping fundraising total of £1m.
A fashion show organised by two of the Pink Ladies has raised more than £3,200, another two ladies have hosted bake sales, bingo nights, dog shows and quizzes with the help of their local pub and have already banked more than £6,000 towards this years run and one Pink Lady even ran 100km in a month.
In the coming weeks there will be a cake stalls, car boots and more quizzes with individual women planning and plotting many more events in the weeks leading up to July 2nd.
I have been supporting these events where I can, knowing that the achievements of the Run over it’s 20 year history – and it’s current fundraising total of £896,000 – are invaluable.
In the funeral notice recently for a man local to the Run, donations in his memory were in aid of the Pink Ladies Tractor Run, a sign of just how loved and supported the event is.
Wanting to know just how the funds helps Cancer Research UK’s breast cancer appeal, I asked Sophia France, the charity’s Relationship Manager for Norfolk and Suffolk.
“Cancer Research UK is so grateful for those who participate in and donate to show their appreciation of the Pink Ladies Tractor Road Run, as support like this plays a vital role in our fight against cancer.
“We’re incredibly proud of each one of the Pink Ladies and would like to thank Annie Chapman, Libby Searle and John Chapman in particular as this prestigious annual event simply wouldn’t be possible without the three of them. Despite their humble modesty, Annie, Libby and John thoroughly deserve every piece of recognition they get – we wouldn’t be able to fund our life-saving work without their and the public’s support.
“For every pound of income from donations, investments and royalties, 81p is available to beat cancer. The progress we’ve seen in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer – including helping to double breast cancer survival over the last 40 years – are the result of being able to fund world-class research over decades.”
In a nutshell, the Run is helping to save lives.
So, despite my newbie apprehension about taking part, I know it is vital that we all do it with gusto, enthusiasm, passion and big smiles on our faces.
In that vein I am slowly becoming inundated with pink pompoms, flowers, bunting and you-name-it from family, friends and anyone who has wind of the Pink Ladies Tractor Run – all of which will decorate my tractor on the day.
My mum has stoically been churning out pompoms at an impressive rate, thanks to the discovery of a pompom maker (yes, there is such a thing, and let me tell you, it’s a game-changer!). She has visited nearly every charity shop in the her local area asking for pink paraphernalia, she’s an utter legend.
I’ve completed my first attempt at decorating the tractor (and myself!) but I feel there is more to come.
I’ve been told to avoid feathers as they scatter in the wind, but nearly anything else goes, from cuddly toys to bras and inflatable flamingos to seaside windmills.
When you look back at the photos from the past 20 years the individual decorations on the tractors are as unique as the women who take part.
Watch this space…
Follow my journey @a_countrylife on Instagram.
To donate, visit fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/kate-royall
The 2023 Pink Ladies Tractor Road Run takes place on Sunday July 2. For more information visit ladiestractorroadrun.co.uk