Massey Ferguson Drives the Fight Against Cancer

Tractor restorer and collector Lou Iannacone put one of his beloved Massey Fergusons to the test when he embarked on a four-day road trip on May 27th from Echuca to Melbourne. Mr Iannacone made the journey on a re-built TED 40 to raise awareness of cancer and to raise funds for cancer research. His destination was the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in East Melbourne, where he arrived Sunday morning after a stint in Lygon St. Mr Iannacone’s primary source of fundraising was a raffle which has a restored Massey Ferguson 1957 FE 35 as first prize.

Lou Iannacone may be aged 60, but he’ll never forget the time when he was an eight-year old, one of seven children growing up in Kyabram, and his father died. ‘‘When dad passed away, the whole town looked after us, they got behind us and helped out mum,’’ Lou recalls. ‘‘The butcher would give us a shilling’s worth of meat and the local shop all the broken biscuits.’’ It is this country spirit, this strong sense of communal generosity that underscores all Lou’s charity work these days, but in particular his current fundraising effort. But these are no ordinary tractors and this is no ordinary fundraising effort.

Since he was 15, Lou has worked in the tractor business and since 1979, he has run his own company, Lou’s Tractors in Echuca. Not only is he a dab hand when it comes to farm machinery, but he is also able to scout out old tractors in need of a spit and polish. The tractors Lou restored for the raffle, auction and convoy are gems. The three models auctioned were conventional old grey TEA 20 Fergies from the 1950s. The one raffled in June was a restored petrol red and grey Massey- Ferguson FE 35. And the Melbourne convoy was led by a rare Massey-Ferguson tandem TED 40. ‘‘The TED 40 in particular is as rare as hen’s teeth, there’s only a handful ever been built,’’ Lou says. All the tractors have been restored by Lou after he placed an advertisement in the local paper asking for old Fergies. The raffle tractor, however, was restored with the help of volunteers. ‘‘We got five given to us. We stripped them and used all the parts we could.’’ The money raised from the convoy, auction and raffle will be split between regional health in Echuca and Melbourne’s Peter Mac Cancer Centre.

Both were chosen for very personal reasons. Lou, whose brother Matt recently lost a long battle with cancer, is passionate about raising awareness of the disease. ‘‘Unfortunately you don’t have to look too far to find someone who has cancer or knows someone who has cancer,’’ Mr Iannacone said. ‘‘Last year we sold another TED 40 to raise money to buy cancer fighting drugs for Matt,’’ he says. ‘But this year we want to really get the message out about awareness. ‘‘Cancer touches so many of us— one in three men and one in four women will develop cancer before the age of 75. So we’re trying to tell people it’s important to go and get checked. ‘‘Men are hopeless at looking after their health and so, of we can just save one life, that will be enough.’’