Norfolk Land Rover charity drive hailed success
PUBLISHED: 07:25 28 October 2017
Like their vehicles, Land Rover owners are a hardy lot.
Not even icy winds or soaking rains could keep them away from a Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service charity run held on Sunday to raise funds for the Fire Fighters Charity.
The event attracted 185 Land Rover enthusiasts from around the country for a scenic drive that started at Sandringham Estate and ended at Holkham Hall.
The run was organised by Grant Cotterell, Clive Wells and Bob Ayers from King’s Lynn fire station.
As Land Rover enthusiasts, the trio have taken part in similar charity drives and together decided to arrange their own to support the Fire Fighters Charity.
Mr Ayers said the response had been overwhelming.
“We were initially expecting around 40 to 50 vehicles to take part so when the figure kept creeping up we realised it was going to be a big event.”
All funds raised will go to the Fire Fighters Charity, which offers a range of services including rehabilitation, health care, advice and support to current and former fire service staff, volunteers and their families.
Mr Cotterell said: “Clive has owned Land Rovers for years but Bob and I are relative newcomers.
“We all enjoy driving the vehicles but I enjoy taking mine apart and putting it back together.”
However, he suffered a serious back problem requiring major surgery earlier this year which meant he wasn’t able to drive his Series 3 or do any maintenance work on it.
“My journey back to fitness is progressing well but I needed the support of the Fire Fighters Charity to help my recovery,” he said.
“It is only when you experience first-hand the fantastic facilities and the focused and dedicated treatment the staff provide that you truly understand and appreciate its value. They have helped me in my journey to get back to operational fitness.”
Land Rovers taking part in the event included a number of Series 3 models, converted military vehicles, campers, Defenders and Discoveries of all shapes and sizes and even the odd Freelander.
Due to a greater number of entrants than expected, the convoy was delayed in its departure from Sandringham by around 30 minutes.
Once on the move though, the vehicles followed a scenic route through the magnificent forests surrounding the estate before heading to Flitcham.
From there the convoy made its way to Massingham Airfield where participants were given exclusive access to the facility which started life in September 1940 as a satellite grass airfield to nearby RAF West Raynham.
It had three runways in the usual A pattern, the longest of which was 2,000 yards and the remaining two of 1,400 yards each.
Blenheim aircraft were based at the airfield, playing an important role in the Ruhr offensive.
Today it is still used by light aircraft.
Following a circular drive around the airfield, the vehicles headed to Harpley for a tea, coffee and cake stop before a later lunch stop at Creake Abbey.
With the rain still falling, the vehicles set off on the final leg of the journey to Holkham Hall travelling via Little Walsingham.
There were no off-road sections and the entire route was over tar road.
“There were just too many vehicles to go off road and we were worried about the time and damage that could have been caused,” said Mr Ayers. On arrival at the hall, the Land Rovers were directed to park in front of the building for photographs.
Various category competitions with trophies were held and there was also a special section for the best mascot.
“It was a hugely successful day,” said Mr Ayers. “We had Land Rover owners from around the country join us including a group known as the Land Rover Ladies who have members from various parts of the UK.”
He said, based on the success of the event, they were looking to hold another one next year with the idea of turning it into an annual charity drive a possibility.
“The feedback from those taking part was really positive and many wanted to know if we would be doing it again next year.”
He said £2,729 had been raised with the figure expected to top £3,000 with more money to come in followed by a donation from Barclays bank in King’s Lynn.
“We will hold a cheque presentation in about two weeks time when we hand over the money,” he said.