30 Sep Essex motorists raise money for Cancer Research UK by taking part in Crumball Rally
An Essex motorist has turned his passion for cars into a fundraising adventure by taking part in a crazy 1800-mile European car rally for Cancer Research UK.
Mark Wells (57), a retired Programme Manager from Hutton in Essex, raised over £1500 by taking part in the annual Crumball Rally – driving through France, Switzerland and Italy.
The rally, themed each year along the lines of an iconic car or driving film, needs drivers with a sense of adventure as each team must drive a banger costing no more than £200, or a small engine convertible.
This year’s theme, the ‘Italian Job’, was a favourite with the 60 drivers taking part but Mark, who was fundraising with the help of five friends travelling in two cars, came up with a rather unusual connection to the Michael Caine classic.
He said: “The Italian job is a great film but our theme kind of evolved. We started with the Italian Job, then someone thought Italian ice cream would be a good idea, which then made us start thinking about the seaside and that’s what we went for in the end. “
Mark, who has taken part in the rally six times and raised over £6000 for Cancer Research UK, added: “Once again we made fools of ourselves. This time we dressed up as Edwardian bathers and drove two cars across Europe. We had an old banger dressed as the seaside, and the other was a two-seater convertible dressed as a shark.”
Mark’s old banger was lovingly converted into a beach scene, complete with bathers, sandcastles, and a Punch and Judy show in the rear window.
He took part in the rally in memory of his father Leslie, who died of skin cancer in 2000, and his sister-in-law Kim, who died of breast cancer in 2009. He added: “We are all touched by cancer sometime in our lives and that’s why I wanted to do something that might help raise awareness and funds for Cancer Research UK.
“We drove over 300 miles each day and admittedly we did get a few stares along the way but that’s the point. It’s a bit of fun but it’s also an opportunity to get noticed and hopefully people will support us by donating money. One day I hope there will be a cure for cancer but until that day comes we all need to do our bit to keep the fight going.”
Patrick Keely, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Essex, said: “ What a fantastic effort from Mark and his team. We receive no government funding for our work so fundraising like this is vital. It’s thanks to our supporters like Mark and his friends that Cancer Research UK can fund some of our best and most promising research that will help more people survive cancer.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Mark can find his Just Giving page at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/seaside-squad