Mary makes pit-stop on final tractor ride

Mary Phillips with her 1953 Field Marshall 'Fran' at Coombe View Farm.

Mary Phillips with her 1953 Field Marshall 'Fran' at Coombe View Farm. - Credit: Archant

Branscombe residents created a unique guard of honour to welcome a fundraising great-grandmother, who has driven more than 3,000 miles for charity on a tractor.

One of the tractors who greeted Mary Phillips.

One of the tractors who greeted Mary Phillips. - Credit: Archant

Mary Phillips, from St Teath in Cornwall, has raised more than £56,000 for the Devon Air Ambulance Trust over the last six years by riding her 1953 Field Marshall, which reaches a top speed of nine mph.

The fundraiser stopped at Coombe View Farm in Branscombe during her six-day trip along the Devon coastline. Residents Gerald Knight, Cecil Knight and Bob Johnson rode their tractors to meet Mary.

The 75-year-old began her charity tractor rides after her mother, Elsie, fell unconscious and required emergency assistance.

Paramedics arrived within minutes by land and air to revive her.

Branscombe residents met Mary Phillips, who has travelled more than 3,000 on her tractor

Branscombe residents met Mary Phillips, who has travelled more than 3,000 on her tractor - Credit: Archant


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Mary said: “She was taken by the land ambulance, but I just thought I want to do something to help because that air ambulance call out had to be paid for.

“This is my last ride because I have done seven going up and down the country and the traffic is horrendous, but I have loved every minute of it.”

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Since 2009, Mary has covered more than 3,000 miles travelling up and down the country with the help of her partner, Peter Treleaven.

Her biggest trip was in 2012 when she embarked on a 17-day mission from John O’Groats to Land’s End. The following year she replicated the 956-mile journey by starting at Land’s End and driving to John O’Groats.

Tractors that greeted Mary Phillips at Coombe View Farm

Tractors that greeted Mary Phillips at Coombe View Farm - Credit: Archant

Mary said: “I told Peter about the plan to go from John O’Groats to Land’s End and I said I could not do it without him. He was silent for a little while.”

Peter said: “I was shocked, but then I started thinking about it. I’m a pretty rational person so I had a look at the maps to see the route. I knew Mary wouldn’t change her mind.”

Mary says she will continue to raise money for the charity through raffles and shows.

To donate to Mary’s Tractor Ride, contact the Devon Air Ambulance Trust on 01392 466666.

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