Sol and James Cowie recently completed the mighty ‘Saint Tropez or Bust’ Banger Rally Challenge across Europe to raise money for b:friend and support lonely and socially isolated older neighbours.
They set off from Cornwall on 23rd September on their seven-day journey to the South of France, driving a 17-year-old blue convertible Astra, ‘Ducky’, which they decorated with colourful duck stickers.
“We’ve chosen b:friend, because we love the idea of the charity, and we have a connection with it due to a family member who works there,” Sol said. “We like the idea of it being about friends, that’s why we picked ‘Ey Up Duck’ as our theme because it is something friendly people say to each other, especially in the North. It is a great charity to fundraise for.”
As part of their epic adventure, the Cowies slept in an inflatable tent and had to complete various fun challenges throughout their journey. From Karaoke (Banger in Banger), selfies at various picturesque locations, quizzes and scavenger hunting that took them off the beaten track, they got to see amazing sights like Kandersteg in Switzerland, the Simplon Mountain pass, Casino Square in Monaco, two laps around the F1 track in Spa and many more.
They travelled over 3000 miles through 7 countries: France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco. There were 130 other enthusiastic participants who took part in 55 bangers, all dressed in their own fancy dress, raising money for their chosen charities.
Sol talked to Andy Twigge about their adventure on BBC Radio Derby on 3rd October:
“It was exciting, it was long, it was tiring, it was thrilling, it was everything, just every emotion you can imagine, it was amazing.
“It was quite a moment when James and I eventually arrived at the Citadelle in Saint Tropez. As we were driving into Sait Tropez, it was one of our challenges to sing the French National Anthem. We did get some funny looks then! But when we got there, it was amazing.”
Sol and James raised over £1,000 to support the charity’s befriending projects.
Sol said: “We are so grateful to everyone who donated. We will leave our JustGiving page open longer and hope people will still donate a few pounds if they can.”
Fancy setting up your own fundraiser event to help tackle loneliness and isolation? Get involved with Pink & Purple Day or contact Helen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more inspiration and resources.
Photo by Jack Tymon