Farmers' hospital convoy tribute to tyre fitter Diddy

Drone shot of tractors stationed at Beacon Park.

The convoy raised £400 for the James Paget University Hospital. - 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.

Tractors at a convoy.

"Thank you NHS" - a festive tractor leads the way around James Paget University Hospital. - Credit: Polly Coleman

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.

A small tractor

Tractors of all shapes and sizes took to the roads around James Paget University Hospital on Wednesday to support a North Suffolk man a speedy recovery. - Credit: Polly Coleman

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.

Farmers gathered by tractors.

40 farm vehicles came out in support of Diddy Dave on Wednesday. - Credit: Polly Coleman

"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.

Tractors by Beacon Park

Tractors were stationed at Beacon Park while gifts were presented to Dave Chapman's partner. - Credit: Polly Coleman

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.

The £400 raised from the convoy was given to two staff members from Ward 1.

The £400 raised from the convoy was given to two staff members from Ward 1. - Credit: Polly Coleman

Mr Knights and Mr Coleman thanked all involved and wished a speedy recovery to Mr Chapman.

Drone shot of tractors stationed at Beacon Park.

From what started as a get well card for a friend ended up being a convoy of nearly 40 farming vehicles. - Credit: Robin Alden

Farmers gathered by their tractors.

The convoy was organised by Trevor Knight and Alan Coleman. - Credit: Polly Coleman

Farmers gathered by tractors.

Many farmers and agricultural workers came out to show their support to their friend Diddy Dave. - Credit: Polly Coleman

Tractors in a convoy.

Trevor Knights asked farmers to take part in the convoy after he realised Dave Chapman had done so much for them all. - Credit: Polly Coleman

Tractors as part of a convoy.

Farmers came out in their tractors to support their friend. - Credit: Polly Coleman

Drone shot of tractors stationed at Beacon Park.

Tractors and other farming vehicles took part in a convoy to wish "Diddy" Dave Chapman a speedy recovery. - Credit: Robin Alden