Picture gallery: Vintage tractor run through Stanford Training Area, near Thetford

It is a patch of land normally reserved for the necessities of preparing for war.

But this morning (Sunday) the Stanford Training Area (STANTA) near Thetford played host to 200 vintage tractors which gathered in aid of three forces charities.

The tractor run raised �2,000 which will be split between Help for Heroes, The Army Benevolent Fund and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help.

The group, who had all paid �20 each to take part, began at the West Tofts crossroads, finishing four hours later after driving 20 miles through the training area.

Organiser Peter Rudling, 73, a retired lorry driver from Churchill Road in Thetford, who drove a restored grey 1955 Ferguson tractor he worked on himself, said: 'We had to go this time of year because it's the only time there are no live firing exercised because of the lambing season. 'Most of them were gentlemen, and a few lady drivers, with agricultural backgrounds or who had worked on farms before they left school.'

He said he had previously lived with his wife in Thompson, opposite the training ground, and added: 'We used to get quite a lot of army activity down there when I was young.

'Then I worked on a farm which farmed the fields in the training area for about three years before school. When I returned I started on the idea of having a tractor and I got one.'

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STANTA is a restricted area used for army infantry training and in 2009 a village designed to replicate an Afghan village was added to the battle area for the training of troops deployed to Afghanistan.

Mr Rudling said he was inspired by family members who had been in the armed forces.

'In my mind we don't do enough to help them,' he said. 'The young men are going into ordinary hospitals when they come back injured and I think it's bad.

'There's such a strong following for Help for Heroes and we also had to pick forces charities to get onto the area.'