Little wings seeks support for 2021 trek

Tractor Trek to pay for free flights for seriously ill country kids

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A participant in the 2019 Orange tractor trek, Graham Press, with his 52-year-old Chamberlain 306. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

A participant in the 2019 Orange tractor trek, Graham Press, with his 52-year-old Chamberlain 306. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

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This year the Tractor Trek is targeting $60,000, which will allow it to fund more then 40 free flights in the Central West.

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The Tractor Trek Group is calling for support for this year's Tractor Trek charity drive, which will raise money for the volunteer organisation Little Wings.

Little Wings is a referral service which provides transport (including flight and ground transport) for seriously ill children in isolated and rural areas into childrens' hospitals in major city centres.

Tractor Trek president, Malcolm Porter, said this year's Tractor Trek will be based in Blayney and will pass through Carcoar, Hobby's Yards, Neville, Newbridge and Millthorpe.

He said the trek will run for three days, September 24-26, with the proceeds going to Little Wings to help keep families together by bringing children home for short breaks during their treatment to be with family and friends and reducing the amount of time they have to spends away.

Mr Porter said the Tractor Trek Group was a volunteer organisation and the entrants not only pay a fee to partake, but also cover their own costs incurred on the trek (meals, fuel etc).

The previous trek was run in 2019, when the group exceeded its fundraising target of $95,000-100,000, bringing in over $100,000, Mr Porter said.

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This year they were targeting $60,000, which will allow them to fund more than 40 free flights in the Central West.

He said the target was back on 2019 due to ongoing effects of COVID-19, drought, bushfires and mice, these events making it harder for people to get off their farms to help drive the tractors.

Meanwhile, Little Wings was established in 2012 and since then has transported more than 6500 passengers across 2180 journeys, helping 431 families.

It also has its own dedicated fleet of aircraft, with the service being supported by a dedicated group of volunteer pilots and drivers and works closely with the Sydney Children's Hospital Network and The John Hunter Children's Hospital.

Mr Porter said the demand for the Little Wings service was exceeding its existing capacity, with many requests for support currently having to be turned away.

The group will hold the official Tractor Trek dinner in Blayney on Saturday, September 25, at the Blayney Community Centre.

The event's launch dinner, held in Orange on Saturday, May 29, also raised just over $2000.

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