SHINING A LIGHT: Farmers’ brightly lit tractors at last year’s Farmer Christmas event at Woodland
SHINING A LIGHT: Farmers’ brightly lit tractors at last year’s Farmer Christmas event at Woodland

A CONVOY of festively lit tractors is set to brighten up a dark winter’s night in the upper Gaunless Valley when the annual Farmer Christmas run takes place on December 22.

Now in its third year, the event raises cash for good causes while bringing cheer to families in the area.

This year’s theme is “Shine a Light into the Dark”.

The event is organised by Becky and Simon Land, from Woodland, who started it in memory of their cousin Michael Tooley, who died of throat cancer during the covid pandemic.

Volunteer Tim Smith said this year’s rally will start from Robert Teasdale’s Tilesheds Farm from 6pm and make its way to the Edge Hotel where most of the festivities will take place. About 40 tractors have already signed up.

Mr Smith said: “The bells will be ringing as the tractors go past the church, and there will be tea and coffee in the church if anybody wants it.”

The convoy will continue through the village before travelling to Copley, Butterknowle, Southside and Hamsterley and then returning to the Edge Hotel, at Woodland.

Ms Land said: “We are over the moon to announce that The Edge Hotel is not only our hosts for the evening, and will welcome everyone on the night with a real fire and good food, music and a face painter during and after the parade, but they are also sponsoring Farmer Christmas 2023 as a business.”

Mr Smith said there will be prizes for the three “best-in-show” tractors as well as a parade of children’s mini-tractors.

Ms Land added “Farmer Christmas and his sleigh, the mini parade and the tractors from the big parade, including the winners, will all be on show on the car park.”

Other entertainment at the hotel includes performances by Middleton and Teesdale Silver band, a raffle and the distribution of presents to children who have been registered for the event.

Parents from the area can book their children in by visiting the Farmer Christmas Facebook page.

County councillor Robert Potts, who represents the Gaunless Valley and contributed £300 from his neighbourhood budget to the event, will also attend on the night.

A bucket collection will be held during the parade to collect cash for the good causes.

Mr Smith said: “The plan is to give all the money collected to children at Hamsterley, Butterknowle, Woodland and Evergreen schools.

“We are aiming for £1,000 each and we are up to a total of £2,000 at the minute.

“Cockfield Junior Football Club will be getting £200, so the whole issue is about the youth and the continuation of village life.”