Ashwellthorpe-based charity prepares for trike challenge
As a man who was paralysed by polio at the age of 21, Denny Denly was determined not to let disability stop him from realising his dream of travelling across Europe.
In 1947, the adventurer who died last year aged 86, undertook a 1,500 mile journey to the Swiss Alps on a Argson mobility trike.
Now officials from the Norfolk-based disability charity he helped start will pay tribute to his courage by completing the same route in the same trike over 12 days this month.
During the feat, dubbed the Alps Challenge, they will also be joined by sporting ambassadors including basketball player Ade Adeptian, Paralympic athlete Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and racing driver Nicholas Hamilton, the younger brother of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton who has cerebral palsy.
Yesterday, the charity - Disabled Motoring UK formerly known as Mobilise - showcased the recently restored three-wheeled at its centre in Ashwellthorpe near Wymondham in time for the start of the challenge on Saturday.
Helen Dolphin, director of policy and campaigns at Disabled Motoring UK, dreamt up the idea about a year ago.
She said: 'We wanted to do something befitting of Denny's memory and I thought it would be an honour to re-create his great drive.
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'I think he would be really happy with what we're doing. I got to meet him several times and he was a real adventurer - a go-geter. And that's what the charity is all about, it's about making sure that disabled people have the opportunity to do these types of things.'
The team will be waved off by crowds at Queen's House, in Greenwich, London, and will make their way to Folkestone, onto Paris and finally into the Alps following the route used by Mr Denly as closely as possible.
They hope to arrive back in London at the Houses of Parliament on June 16, where they will present the charity's message to MPs.
Mrs Dolphin added: 'We thought it (the Alps Challenge) would be a great way to deliver our message. The original drive was in 1947 but we do not want to go back to 1947 and if the Government wants to go ahead with reductions in Disability Living Allowance then what's going to happen to a lot of disabled people?'
The 1932 Argson mobility trike, which has been brought back to life by soldiers from the Light Dragoons at Swanton Morley, near Dereham, travels at an average speed of about 35mph and is controlled by a set of levers. It carries a 198cc petrol engine and has two gears, but can not reverse.
It has not be used on the roads since 1987 and had been a display piece in the charity's foyer and later in a museum.
The trike's main driver Dan McIntyre said: 'It's hard work but it's a lot of fun. The hardest bit of it is the steering.
'But I'm excited. It's an honour because this is a piece of history and I'm obviously going to take good care of it.'
Disabled Motoring UK is a national charity, which campaigns on behalf of disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders.
To follow the team's progress, visit www.disabledmotoring.org