Luke, John and Berney have the… X TRACTOR!

When a local mechanic was asked if he could restore a 60-year-old Massey Ferguson tractor recently – so that it could be raffled for charity – there was an unexpected twist.

  Retired mechanic, Luke Cox, from Carniska, near Strokestown, looked the then-shabby tractor up and down, and then revealed: “I worked on that very tractor forty years ago!”

  The remarkable coincidence brought a nostalgic dimension to a project which has now been ongoing for over six weeks.

  Luke, and two brothers – John and Berney Higgins – have now completely transformed the 1955 tractor into a beautiful vehicle which is certain to be much sought after.

  When Luke discovered that he had done some repair work on the very same tractor forty years ago, all were in agreement that it was quite a coincidence that the Higgins brothers had called on his services, unaware that the Carniska mechanic had prior experience of the tractor in question.

  John Higgins, one of seven locals who will travel as volunteers to Haiti next month, explains the background to a project which will raise much-needed funds for the Child of Haiti charity.

  “Ronan Collier very kindly donated the tractor to PJ Maher in Ballyleague. PJ was hoping to go to Haiti, but can’t travel on this occasion. The tractor was then passed on to us. Myself and Berney took it to Tulsk and then we approached Luke Cox. He recognised it from working on it forty years ago!”

  The tractor is a 1955 Massey Ferguson TE 20 (Diesel). It wasn’t in great condition, but all that was about to change. 

  John Higgins: “Luke got it started! We did a lot of work on it over about six weeks. We had to strip it down and take it apart. We put in a new clutch and new brakes.”

  Over €2,000 was spent on new parts. New wheels and tyres were kindly sponsored by Agrigear in Cavan. Purchase of panels and components was subsidised by QTP (Quality Tractor Parts) in Mullingar. It was resprayed by Brendan Keane.

  John Higgins, who will be making his seventh trip to Haiti, actually brought a tractor to the troubled country three years ago.

  Meanwhile, this restored tractor will be raffled in January, with proceeds going directly to Child of Haiti projects. Tickets (€10 each, 6 for €50) are now on sale. The winner will also have the option of choosing a cash alternative of €4,000 instead of the tractor.

  The vehicle, which has now passed through Luke Cox’s skilled hands forty years after first doing so, has a Roscommon registration, or, as John Higgins puts it…

  “It’s a full-blown Rossie!”