Tractor driver, 75, calls it a day after epic charity rides


A pensioner who twice drove the length of mainland Britain on a tractor, raising nearly £60,000 for charity, has decided to call it a day because of "horrendous" traffic on modern roads.

Mary Phillips, from St Teath, Cornwall, has been driving "Fran" - a 1953 tractor which chugs along at about 9mph (14km/h) - for the last six years.

In that time she estimates she has travelled more than 3,000 miles.

The 75-year-old said she had come across some "crazy" drivers on the way.

In 2012 Ms Phillips drove from John O'Groats to Land's End, and then completed the reverse trip the following year.

She has also travelled around the coastal roads of Devon and Cornwall to keep on raising money.

image captionMary Phillips drove from John O'Groats to Land's End in 2012 and the opposite journey the following year
image captionMary Phillips said she started raising money in 2009 and has since raised more than £56,000

She said she "parks up where we can" and sleeps in a caravan towed by her husband.

While acknowledging "some people" were impatient about being stuck behind her tractor, Ms Phillips said she had met "some wonderful people" during her adventures.

"I started raising money in 2009 - it's something quite different to use a tractor to raise money," she explained.

Most of the money has gone to the Devon and Cornwall air ambulances after her own mother was helped by the charity.

Ms Phillips told the BBC she decided to stop driving her tractor on the roads because she would "feel awful if an accident was caused", but noted "people take too many risks".

And she was quick to point out: "Just because I'm not going to be driving on the roads, does not mean I won't be driving the tractor!"

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