Pink ladies get set for tractor run from Thorpe Abbotts through Brockdish and Harleston

An Olympic torchbearer will lead a record number of women in the Pink Ladies' Road Tractor Run this year.

Annie Chapman, of Pulham St Mary, who will be carrying the torch for 300m through Aldeburgh on July 5, will first lead a parade of tractors through Harleston and nearby villages on Sunday, July 1.

The 70-year-old, who was nominated to carry the Olympic torch by Cancer Research UK (she will set off on July 5 at 2.07pm on the A1094 from Victoria Road to Alde House Drive), organises the annual tractor run in aid of breast cancer awareness.

She said: 'The tractor run is the most amazing, emotional experience. The last few years, the streets have been packed with people cheering us on – the reception is wonderful and most of the ladies feel overwhelmed by the support.

'We couldn't have done this without the people who have supported us, including the back-up teams, the people who let us use their tractors and the people who show the ladies how to drive them. It's a real team effort. It's very humbling. We just hope we can help to save some lives.'

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A record 136 women from across the country, including as far afield as Somerset and Edinburgh, will be taking to the road in pink decorated tractors for the event, which raised �38,500 last year and has raised more than �220,000 for the charity over the last eight years.

Mrs Chapman said they were hoping to reach �250,000 this year.

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The tractor run, organised by the Suffolk and Norfolk branch of the David Brown Tractor Club, will start from Thorpe Abbotts airfield at 11.30am, passing through Thorpe Abbotts, Brockdish, past Syleham, pausing at Harleston hockey club and then through Harleston at about 12.30pm on its way through Lush Bush to the Gawdy Hall estate.

Everyone is invited to bring a picnic lunch to Gawdy Hall Meadow, although people are asked to turn down Church Lane, off the A143 Bungay Road, to get there (and not follow the tractors on this last leg of the journey as they will be using a private road).

The tractors will then return via North Green Road, Pulham St Mary, Rushall and Langmere to Thorpe Abbotts.

The event was started by Mrs Chapman and her husband John in 2004, when they came up with the idea of women taking part in a road run on tractors decorated in pink. The first event involved 50 tractors and raised �16,500.

In 2008, Mrs Chapman won the charity's award for Volunteer of the Year when the event broke the �100,000 barrier. She was in The Independent's list of 100 people who make Britain a better and happier place to live in 2011.

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