Farmers' hospital convoy tribute to tyre fitter Diddy
- Credit: Robin Alden
What started as a get well card ended up as a convoy of 40 tractors cheering up a tyre fitter while he recovered in a Gorleston hospital.
A convoy of tractors, lorries and diggers made its way around the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) to bring cheer to the drivers' friend who was recovering from a stroke.
North Suffolk tyre fitter Dave Chapman, known to the farming community as "Diddy", had a stroke five weeks ago.
While recovering in hospital, he was given a get well card by his friend Trevor Knights.
Wanting to do something more for his friend, Mr Knights visited a Beccles agricultural workshop with the plan of getting owners Mark Pipe and Andrew Colls to collect best wishes from local farmers.
"The idea then snowballed," Mr Knights said.
When Mr Knights visited farmers on Christmas Day to sign a card for Mr Chapman, he realised they all had a story to tell about him.
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"Diddy would turn up late at night over harvest time - leaving his dinner table or his bed - to repair punctures or find a new tyre for harvesters and support vehicles," Mr Knights said.
"No matter what, Diddy Dave had turned out to help those in need."
The appreciation for Mr Chapman - who was described as "one in a million" - and all the staff at JPUH culminated with farmers and contractors from Norfolk and Suffolk taking their tractors and a lorry on a drive around the hospital on Wednesday, December 29.
The event convoy was granted permission by head of nursing Jackie Copping.
"With only three days notice arranging permission to drive around the hospital, we give our appreciation to Jackie," Mr Knights said.
Mr Knights and Alan Coleman presented gifts to Mr Chapman's partner, Tilly Sims, at the front of the hospital.
A collection was carried out at Beacon Park, where the vehicles had been stationed, and all proceeds went to JPUH.
The £400 raised was collected by two members of the stroke team from Ward 1.
Mr Knights and Mr Coleman thanked all involved and wished a speedy recovery to Mr Chapman.