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Tractor convoy moves family to France

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: April 10, 2014

FRENCH TRIP: Friends and relatives gather to say goodbye to Michael and Reg Jordan and co-driver Damien O'Meara.  Picture: Richard Howe

FRENCH TRIP: Friends and relatives gather to say goodbye to Michael and Reg Jordan and co-driver Damien O'Meara. Picture: Richard Howe

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A CONVOY of tractors led by a farming father and son has left North Devon to cross the channel and drive on to a new life in southern France .

Friends fired a shotgun salute to say goodbye after crowd of well wishers waved them away from the hamlet of Langaford, near Holsworthy.

Forty-year-old Michael Jordan and his dad, Reg, 67, plus co-driver Damien O'Meara, took the three heavily-laden tractors with trailers onto the ferry from Plymouth.

They are now on their way through Northern France, headed for the Jordan's new home near Angouleme.

By 10am on Sunday the convoy had already attracted the attention of French police who brought it to a halt to check documents and ask questions.

Earlier Mike had said, "We'll start annoying the French as soon as we get across there", but intended it only as a joke.

The convoy's top speed is about 25mph.

Ahead of them are Mike's wife, Clarissa and two sons, Max, 8, and Rocco, 6, who took an earlier ferry with the family horses and luggage.

The family has packed up Langaford Farm where Mike grew up and Reg spent the last 50 years.

Between them they had built up a 400-strong herd of dairy cattle, nearly all of which were sold at Holsworthy market before their departure.

The family has bought a 1,000 acre farm and chateau where they intend to grow a variety of crops and run a holiday business.

Before she left Clarissa said: "I've got mixed emotions. I'm excited, but also wondering if we're doing the right thing for the kids.

"But why not go for an adventure? It's going to be a big adventure. I know I'm going to miss my friends and family, and that same old routine.

"But we'll have to learn to get on with it. I'm looking forward to good weather, a bit dryer, and we both like a challenge.

"I hope it's going to be a better, more enjoyable life, not working day and night in the cold and wet all the time, and having more time as a family."

Mike said this was the final act in a plan they'd thought about carefully: "It's the right time for the kids. If we left it much longer the kids would have lifelong friends here and wouldn't want to go with us.

"I fancy a change. I like building and there's a lot of building to do where we're going.

"I've got 25 good years left for work with a bit of luck. It's time for something different.

"We'll be arable farming as well, but no animals apart from the horses, two dogs and the parrot. And no doubt I will get up to other things when I'm there."

About the journey he said: "It's a bit of excitement. As long as we don't puncture too many tyres it'll be alright. I've no regrets at all."

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