The life of a deceased teenager was celebrated after 300 tractors celebrated their birthday

Tractors gathered at Dungannon

The farm vehicles came from all over Ireland (Image: Facebook/Matthew McCallan Tractor Run)

Massey Ferguson’s, John Deeres, Zetors and a couple of David Browns went into effect over the weekend to mark the life of a teenager.

Matthew McCallan, 15, died of hypothermia on December 4 and should have turned 16 yesterday.

To mark the occasion, tractors from farms across Northern Ireland came to Dungannon in County Tyrone to his home village of Carrickmore for a 15 mile charity run.

Thousands watched the procession and sang Happy Birthday together before a balloon with Forever 15 and the number 16 written on it went up.

The parade was led by Matthew’s mother, Frances, who said he loved the event.

She said: “He’s here having fun with us. We went to his grave this morning and put flowers on it. I cried heartily and then just said, “This is it, this is just a special day for Matthew and I’m going to enjoy it.”

Grandmother Margaret Ann called the event “more sweet than bitter”, adding: “The generosity of the people is amazing. I can’t believe there are so many tractors in Northern Ireland.”

Tractors gathered for the parade

The gathering was designed to raise funds for local charities (Image: Facebook/Matthew McCallan Tractor Run)

Tractors gathered for the parade

The tractors on display ranged from modern and huge to old and tiny (Image: Facebook/Matthew McCallan Tractor Run)

The celebration comes after months of pain for Matthew’s family. Frances said: “It was awful; terrible. If you haven’t lost a child, you won’t understand.

‘I’m empty. A part of me is missing. My whole daily routine has changed. As a person you have changed. I’ll never be the person I was again, but I’m a different person now and I’m up for anything to be completely honest.

“Whereas before I would have been shy – I would have hid from an interview – but now I’m ready to do anything.

‘I was going to say I can’t believe it [the generosity of everyone]but I can believe it because there are good people out there and the support they have given us over the last few months has been amazing.

“Matthew’s friends are great, I love it when they come in and everything today just speaks for itself and what people think of him.”

Teenager Matthew McCallan was ?a very happy little boy? Who had moments of

Matthew’s death has caused his family months of pain (Image: PSNI/PA)

The coffin of 15-year-old Matthew McCallan is brought out of St Malachy's Church in Edendork following his funeral. The teenager was found dead in a ditch in Fintona after going missing from a night out at a country music event. Picture date: Sunday December 11, 2022.

Pictures of tractors adorned Matthew’s coffin (Image: PA)

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Justin Scacco

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