Beccles teams complete fundraising rally across Europe travelling in 20-year-old bangers

From left, Kim Robertson, Sue Hellman, Vivian Grimmer, Alex Robertson, Colin Hillier, Richard Baxter

From left, Kim Robertson, Sue Hellman, Vivian Grimmer, Alex Robertson, Colin Hillier, Richard Baxter and Chris Sait with their cars for the Crumball Banger Rally. Picture: Andrew Florides. - Credit: Archant

Four Beccles teams have driven 2,150 miles across Europe in old bangers to raise money for charity.

Chris Sait and Trevor Gowing from the Wigg Motor Engineers and Wheels and Tyres Direct team. Picture

Chris Sait and Trevor Gowing from the Wigg Motor Engineers and Wheels and Tyres Direct team. Picture: Courtesy of Kim Robertson. - Credit: Archant

The teams travelled from the UK through France, Switzerland and Italy - crossing the Alps and nursing their cars up steep climbs and round hairpin bends through the St Bernard Pass - all as part of the Crumball Banger Rally.

The Beccles Breast Cancer Now group led in their 22-year-old pink Renault Clio, having won the rally last year.

They were joined by father and son duo, Mark and Alex Robertson, with co-driver Ollie Harris in their 25-year-old Escort XR3i, Henstead Arts and Crafts Centre owner Richard Baxter along with Knights Estates owner Colin Hillier in their 16-year-old Renault Kangoo and staff from Wigg Motor Engineers and Wheels and Tyres Direct in their 22-year-old BMW.

Following the rally theme of The Italian Job, and with three of the vehicles costing less than a £200 initial purchase, the teams joined 63 other cars making their way from Reims in France, Besancon in Switzerland, Turin in Italy, and then to the finish line in Nice. They took part in daily challenges and visited some of the key scenes from the famous Michael Caine film along the way.

The Beccles Breast Cancer Now ladies on the challenge. Picture: Kim Robertson.

The Beccles Breast Cancer Now ladies on the challenge. Picture: Kim Robertson. - Credit: Archant


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The teams left Beccles on June 7 and the last group arrived back home eight days later.

Kim Robertson, who founded the Beccles Breast Cancer Now group in 2011 after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, was joined on the challenge by Sue Hellman and Vivian Grimmer.

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She said: 'With all the help and support from local businesses in getting our Clio 'rally-ready' in 2016, it was great that we could squeeze out a second trip.

'Driving the car through the Alps with a small engine and no power steering was challenging but we collected sponsorship along the way and it was great to be joined by three other Beccles-based teams.'

The Henstead/Knights covered in pupils' handprints. Picture: Kim Robertson.

The Henstead/Knights covered in pupils' handprints. Picture: Kim Robertson. - Credit: Archant

For the other three cars it was their first time, but is unlikely to be their last.

Alex, from the XR3i team, said: 'It was great fun taking part in the rally and I hope to be able to do so again. It was a bit of a family affair and lovely to share the experience with my dad in our car, and my mum in the pink Clio.

'We almost didn't make it and were changing a clutch two hours before departure. We were also pleased that we chose a convertible car, being able to drive with the roof down in 30 degree temperatures was very welcomed.'

The teams have raised over £4,700 to date and funds will go to Breast Cancer Now, the East Anglian Air Ambulance and East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH).

Chris Sait and Trevor Gowing from the Wigg Motor Engineers and Wheels and Tyres Direct team, had the added responsibility of helping any cars that broke down throughout the journey.

They said: 'While the toolbox was stocked and ready for action, it was great that we all made it home without any significant difficulties. It was good to put Beccles on the map as part of the Crumball Rally and we are so appreciative of everyone who has supported us and donated to charities that are close to our hearts.'

The Henstead/Knights car impressed rally competitors with its handprint decorations, with pupils from local schools invited to put their mark on the car in exchange for a donation to EACH.

Mr Hillier and Mr Baxter said: 'The car turned out a lot better than we could have hoped for and certainly attracted a lot of attention. We loved the whole event and will definitely be taking part again.'

Donations towards the teams' chosen charities can still be made at www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/BecclesBreastCancerNow www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Colinandrichardscartrip or through sponsor forms at Wigg Motor Engineers and Wheels and Tyres Direct in Beccles.

•Are you taking part in a charity challenge? Email the details to amy.smith@archant.co.uk

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