Tractor run planned by Limerick man Joe Wright held in his memory for Milford Care Centre

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan


Tractor run planned by Limerick man Joe Wright held in his memory for Milford Care Centre

Chrisina and Helen Lyons, Trisha and Gerard Wright, Mary Ryan and Brendan Wright at the Herberstown at the Joe Wright Memorial Tractor Run in Herbestown - Picture: Declan hehir

JOE Wright would have been up in heaven – immaculately dressed as ever – smiling down on a tractor run that he planned.

Joe, from Herbertstown, passed away on September 4, 2016 aged 92 and is fondly remembered by all who knew him. Having received great care from Milford, Joe came up with the idea of organising a fundraising tractor run for the charity in 2017.

His family, neighbours and friends took up the mantle after his death and organised the Joe Wright memorial run that raised over €3,000 for Milford.

A great friend of Joe’s, Tom Hanly said the story goes a few years earlier.

”Our priest at the time, Fr Jimmy Donnelly came up with the idea of holding a St Patrick’s Day parade in Herbertstown. It was completely out of the blue. Myself and Joe were in charge of organising the tractors at the parade – we were the ministers of tractors,” smiled Tom. A couple of runs emanated from the parade.

“Last year, Joe came up with the idea of doing a tractor run for Milford in 2017. His mind was set on it and he was looking forward to it but unfortunately he passed away on September 4, 2016,” said Tom.

Up to about a month before his death, Joe was as “lively as a hare” said Tom. He was even driving around in his van.

Tom says it is hard to describe Joe as he was one of a kind.

“He was a very pleasant man. Joe was a thin, hardy man and always dressed immaculately – he was a very snappy dresser. He lost his wife Bridie when she was only in her early forties. They had seven children. The whole family was there on the day to support the run. We had a great crowd. Joe was very popular,” said Tom.

Tom, neighbours, family and friends vowed to keep Joe’s wish and they picked Sunday, July 23. To show the esteem that Joe was held in over 80 tractors and their drivers arrived in Herbertstown.

In a lovely idea, proceedings got under way with an under 10 tractor run. But there is no need for the gardai in Bruff to be concerned about underage driving! “They had their little plastic tractors. They went from the chapel down the middle of the street,” said Tom.

Then it was time for the big machines to rev their engines and get in to top gear.

“We left Herbertstown and headed for Old Pallas, Cloverfield, Dromkeem, Uncle Tom’s, Caherline, Ballybrood and back to Herbertstown.  It was a great day, everybody really enjoyed it,” said Tom.

Joe would be very proud that a big sum of money was raised for Milford Care Centre in his name. 

“When all the money is in it will be in excess of €3,000. People were very generous. Milford is close to everybody’s heart,” said Tom, who adds that it is hoped to make the Joe Wright memorial run an annual event.

Tom wished to thank the extended Wright family, neighbours, friends, all the tractor drivers and everyone who donated or helped.