A LETTERKENNY-based charity has received a cheque for almost €24,000 this week following a hugely successful tractor raffle.
Having purchased a Massey Ferguson 35 tractor which needed a lot of restoration work last year, cancer survivor Billy Bustard set about fixing it up – with a good cause in mind.
The Donegal Town man carried out major works over a six-month period on the agricultural machinery, restoring it to a first class level with a new battery, new starter, new injector pump, new tyres and rims, a fully rebuilt engine and a new seat.
He then toured the county with the tractor on his trailer selling raffle tickets for it with all proceeds raised going to the Good and New Cancer Charity. The Letterkenny-based charity operates the Donegal to Galway cancer bus, which was kept on the road for the 40 weeks that its second hand charity shop was closed due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Cancer survivors Eamonn and Lynn McDevitt have been organising buses for patients making the journey from Donegal to Galway for treatment since 2009.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Mr McDaid said the proceeds will mean a lot to those enduring a cancer journey.
“The bus is sustained through donations from local people, no funding is provided from official bodies. The kindness of Billy to do this fundraiser and to everyone who bought a raffle ticket will mean a lot to the cancer patients we transport to Galway.
“Our bus is in dire need of change, soon there will be a quarter of a million miles on the clock. We will be trying to replace this bus, hopefully in the middle of this year. Billy was a cancer patient years ago so he knows about having to travel to Galway to receive treatment and all that that entails.”
The bus leaves Donegal on a Monday morning and returns home on a Friday evening. It costs more than €1,000 a week to maintain the service.
He said that over the last 12 years, 2,600 people have used the Good and New Cancer Charity Bus.
“We were badly curtailed in terms of our charity shop that had to close during the restrictions. It was a difficult time because cancer does not stop. Had the shop remained closed, there was a very high risk the bus might have been in jeopardy.
“When we started out we also set up a cancer fund to help families on their journey, and, to date, we have donated €425,000 to families.”
The total amount raised from the tractor raffle was €23, 840.75.
Posted: 2:58 pm January 16, 2022