Hunstanton man’s 848-mile Christmas Day drive raises money for charity

Charles le Strange Meakin with Edith.

Charles le Strange Meakin with Edith. - Credit: Archant

It was a Christmas Day like no other.

Edith at Land's End.

Edith at Land's End. - Credit: Archant

Shunning the comforts of turkey and all the trimmings, and a doze in front of the television, Charles le Strange Meakin had instead opted to spend the day on a charity drive from John O'Groats to Land's End.

Travelling in his French 1930s Chenard Walcker Aigle 8, known as Edith, he had set himself the challenge of completing the 848-mile journey in 24 hours. In the event, he completed the trek with just two hours to spare, overcoming the odd setback on the journey – with the fuel pump breaking with more than half the journey still to go.

He was forced to stop while 100 miles north of Carlisle, but was eventually able to rebuild it by telephoning a friend for advice and sending him pictures of the damaged parts.

The 48-year-old said: 'It was a bit touch and go but we did it in 22 hours.'

It was not the only difficulty with which to contend, he said, as for most of the first 150 miles he was driving through sleet and rain. 'If you try to drive a normal modern car at that distance you would be very bored but the charm of a 1930s car is incredibly interesting to drive,' he said.

Mr le Strange Meakin, originally from Hunstanton, said he fuelled his challenge on a diet of bananas, sandwiches and oranges, and added that the finishing stretch was precarious because he did not know if he would break down again.

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He added: 'It felt pretty amazing to arrive. Until that point I thought of it just as driving a car for a few hours. It was just a number at first, but when you think about it it's further than I have driven in a modern car in a day, let alone a 1930s car.'

The hardships continued after his arrival, as he then had to spend the rest of the night sleeping in his car.

'I slept in the back of Edith; I didn't want to plan because I didn't know when I would get there. I had quite a good night's sleep actually.

'In some ways if the hurdles hadn't happened, it wouldn't have felt quite so hard won.'

The journey raised £11,000 for the charity Action for Children, which aims to speak on behalf of children and works to ensure they have the stability to reach their potential.