John Deere Limited’s special 50th anniversary celebration and heritage event at Langar over the weekend was a huge success for visitors and participants alike.
An estimated 14,000 people from across the UK and Ireland attended the weekend’s festivities, which included activities and entertainment for the whole family.
The Mayor of Rushcliffe, Councillor George Davidson, officially opened the event on Saturday morning, with the Gator utility vehicle ride and drive track and a guided tour of the Langar premises proving to be particularly popular.
In addition, the machinery parades and working field demonstrations of tractors, ploughs and combines of all ages represented probably the largest ever gathering of John Deere heritage equipment outside the US.
Good causes also benefited from the event, including Dove Cottage Day Hospice, based in Statheen, which managed to raise £5,425 through a refreshment stall.
Event organiser Chris Wiltshire, John Deere’s marketing manager, said: “The children and parents of Harby, Langar and Cropwell Bishop schools did a fantastic job of selling ice cream at the event, with all profits being donated to the schools, each receiving £720. We are still waiting for all of the monies to be counted from the voluntary charitable donations made at the event, which will be shared between the Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance and the Nottingham Hospitals Charity’s Saving Lives Helipad Appeal.”
There were over 200 John Deere vintage, classic and modern tractors and other heritage machines at the event, spanning 100 years of production, with at least one tractor representing every year from 1962 to 2011 – there was even a John Deere bicycle.
Some of the heritage tractor highlights included:
l a 1916 Overtime Model R belonging to Malcolm Robinson of Horncastle in Lincolnshire, which was imported from the US during the First World War to aid the war effort;
l a 1919 Waterloo Boy Model N belonging to Harry Williams of Mold in Flintshire, the first tractor produced by John Deere in the US after it bought the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company in Iowa;
l a 1924 Model D belonging to John Deere dealer Frank Sutton of Raglan in Monmouthshire, the oldest tractor in Europe bearing the John Deere name;
l a 1943 Model BN belonging to Brian Wright of Langford in Nottinghamshire, which may be the oldest working John Deere tractor in the UK, and is still used to hoe sugar beet every spring.
There were also eleven examples of the iconic 4020 tractor that dates back to 1966, the year John Deere Limited started trading from its current premises at Langar.
The company’s own specially restored model, nicknamed BEV, which featured alongside the new 620hp four-track 9620RX – the biggest tractor John Deere makes worldwide today – in last November’s Lord Mayor’s Show in London, was used as a backdrop in a special display where visitors could have their photo taken and receive a free 50th anniversary souvenir print.
Managing director Jonathan Henry said: “For me the most memorable experience was observing and listening to the emotions and comments of our visitors as they walked down the 100 years of tractor history. Everyone had different memories triggered by the line-up but one common theme, a passion for John Deere.
“The last 50 years has been a resounding success for the John Deere brand in the UK and Ireland, from new entrant to market leadership, and a testament to our core values of integrity, quality, commitment and innovation. Here’s to the next 50 years!”