Annie’s tractor runs recognised in honours list

Annie Chapman who has received

Annie Chapman who has received "Volunteer of the Year" by Cancer Research UK for her work in organising the Ladies Tractor Run ENGANL00120120327165902

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A tractor-enthusiast who has helped raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for a cancer charity has been awarded with a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

Annie Chapman, of Pulham St Mary, has raised more than £335,000 for Cancer Research since the inception of the yearly Pink Ladies Tractor Road Run 10 years ago, which sees ladies take tractors around the Diss Express area, including the centre of Harleston.

The idea of her husband John in 2003, the first event was intended to be a one-off.

But last year’s event, which has grown from 50 participants and raising more than £16,500 in 2004, generated in excess of £60,500 and featured 158 entrants from far and wide.

“It is a great honour. I just feel very humble and I wish I could share it with all those who take part and make it happen,” she said.

Mrs Chapman, 72, who has lived in Pulham St Mary for 32 years, added: “Last year was the 10th anniversary so we thought we might have a bit of a dip in numbers but we currently stand at 150 which is amazing.

“When I retired I wanted to do a project and do something for charity and he (John) came up with the idea of doing a ladies’ tractor run.

“We belong to two local tractor clubs and we collect vintage tractors and equipment and it is something which is a hobby in this area for tractor enthusiasts. But it is usually gentlemen so it seemed to be a novel idea to have ladies only.

“It just caught people’s imagination. I think the charity is another reason why it has caught on. Everyone knows someone who has had breast cancer.”

It is not the first accolade Mrs Chapman has received.In 2008 she was honoured by Cancer Research with the presentation of their Volunteer of the Year award, while in 2011 she was listed among the top 100 people in the Independent Newspaper’s list of People who make the World a Happier Place.

In 2012 she carried the Olympic Torch in Aldeburgh on behalf of Cancer Research UK and she has been presented with South Norfolk Council’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Community Award as winner of the Community Fundraiser section.

The next tractor run is set for Sunday, July 6, 11.30am, at the Thorpe Abbotts Airfield.

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