Seven years after the incredible trek across Canada, Nick Parsons decided after a very busy working life as a farmer and contractor in the United Kingdom and latterly a grain farmer in Canada he and his wife Jane should take things a little easier and
enjoy some time together in retirement.
As Nick retired from farming he realised that keeping Belle parked up and not in use would be a great shame as although it was now an old well worn combine it was still more than capable of bringing in the harvest!
Any thoughts of putting Belle up for sale were quickly dismissed because as Nick explains the combine wasn't worth a lot of money but it was priceless if you had a crop to cut and nothing to cut it with! So after a great deal of careful consideration Nick
was initially approached by a museum for Belle but a request from The big Quill Canadian Foodgrains Bank community growing project,changed his mind and after several discussions donated the combine to them to use along with other such machines that are loaned
The Quill Lakes project during 2006/7 had more than 200 growing projects across Canada representing 15000 acres and yielding more than 17000 tonnes of crops, the Canadian International Development Agency would then match its value in currency
by four to one, so a very worthwhile charitable organization could this particular year donate to Zimbabwe which at that time had only two days supply of food in reserve.
Not only would Belle be cutting this season but it would also be reunited with
its former owner Nick who was invited down to Saskatchewan to take to the controls as he had done for many years and hours during its working life, Belle had clocked up over 7000 working hours which is very admirable for a machine with many moving parts.
So Prairie Belle would indeed take part in harvests for this very noble organization and it would justly seem very fitting for this most travelled combine to end its working career benefitting those who are powerless to change their fortunes through no
fault of their own.
You may think Prairie Belle was transported to Saskatchewan on a truck well for the biggest part of this journey it was, and for discounted rates by local trucking companies! But for the last leg of the journey it was Nick at the
controls naturally, Nick points out this was a very emotional last journey for me, I guess the amount of hours, miles, and dire situations that I have experienced aboard Belle leaves a piece of me within that tired old framework of pulleys belts and red tin.