'It's magical bringing tradition alive'
To see things in operation like they were in the olden days is what Brendan Ferris loves most. It is, he believes, the best way to understand history and this passion for the traditional ways led the Beaufort man to set up Threshing Cancer - a family fun vintage day that continues to grow in popularity.
"I like things to work. Showing how old things work, there is a magic to that," he says. For Brendan, this is what Threshing Cancer is all about, the opportunity to showcase how things were in the past - not by simply looking at old machinery but by witnessing how it actually operates.
This year's event is on Sunday, September 9, and for those who make their way to Brendan's farm in Beaufort, they will get the opportunity to see a host of age-old traditions brought to life, starting with old traditional threshing methods, right up to making bread and butter by hand. This year, to add even more history to this now hugely popular event, there will special collection of John Deere tractors. This year marks the 100th anniversary of John Deere tractors - the first one was manufactured at the end of WWI in 1918 - and to mark this a host of new and old models will be on display.
Brendan believes this new addition to the annual Threshing Cancer day will draw new attendees to raise funds for the chosen charities which include Recovery Haven and the Kerry Hospice Foundation. Though Brendan's interest in tradition is what has contributed to the success of the event, it was the invasion of cancer to his life that first prompted it.
"My wife got breast cancer. She got of out it but her sister and my brother have both died from cancer. When you get cancer you get accustomed to the facilities and you find out that they are reliant on charity," he says. From that day on Brendan vowed to raise funds for those facilities, to ensure that they are available to everyone. It is also, he says, a thank-you to the services.
"I believe in karma. If you do good, you will get good and I have been lucky really." "That was six years ago and Threshing Cancer has to date raised an impressive €140,000 for cancer charities in Kerry. The respite care and home care offered by the Kerry Hospice Foundation is vital for cancer patients, as is the support offered in Recovery Haven - including wig fitting, make-up or beauty treatments or just the chat and companionship for male and female patients. Threshing Cancer is a family day out with a host of activities for all the family - including children's entertainment, arts and crafts and of course plenty of traditional machinery in operation.
This year too there is a demonstration of straw uses by local man, Johnny O'Sullivan which will be recorded to ensure this tradition's place in history. There's a fun competition to win a four-ball at Dooks and Killarney Golf Club also but what Brendan really hopes for is a great day out for everyone and to support cancer care in Kerry. Brendan and his committee are now putting the final touches to this year's event on Sunday, September 9 and all details are on Facebook . Brendan is very grateful to the huge support he has from his hard-working committee but also the local community and all those that travel to the event and he is urging everyone to join him again this year.