Workers plan to send tractors home

A group of Ettrick-based Vanuatuans are hoping to take two donated British Leyland 270 tractors...
A group of Ettrick-based Vanuatuans are hoping to take two donated British Leyland 270 tractors back to their home, once they have repainted them. Photo: Yvonne O'Hara
A group of Vanuatuan orchard workers based in Ettrick are hoping to repaint two British Leyland tractors and  take them home.

Group spokesman Lele Petelo said they had been given one of the British Leyland 270 tractors last year by Roxburgh East orchardist Sid Birtles, and the other was donated by Melrose Orchard owner Peter Vernon a couple of weeks ago.

Ettrick vehicle restorer Alistair Stevenson donated his time to repair and restore one of the engines and Mr Vernon bought the necessary parts for them. The men intend to  work on the vehicles during their time off.

They hope to pack them in a container to send home in March.

"We have no tractors over there and we wanted two the same so if one breaks down then we can fix it," Mr Petelo said.

He said he intended to use the tractors to set up a towing business.

"Everyone has helped and we want to thank New Zealand people for their help.

"They have been very kind to us."

- Yvonne O'Hara

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