An adventurous pair of caped crusaders tackled a fundraising mission with a difference – driving from Norwich to Barcelona via a host of European hotspots and clocking up 1,800 miles in a banger-turned-Batmobile. Pals Tim Boucher and Paul Sayles completed the four-day Wacky Rally to show their support for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The duo’s monster journey took in the Swiss Alps, rolling hills of Italy, French Riviera and Spanish Catalan capital and, in the process, they raised more than £1,500. The Wacky Rally, an annual event, featured a host of bangers and drivers – all supporting charities of their choice – and participants got underway from Lille, in northern France.
They followed a set route via seven countries, staying in designated locations along the way, before converging in Barcelona.
“It’s the second time we’ve done it but, once again, such an adventure with so many highlights,” said Tim, who is chairman of Poringland Parish Council.
“It’s definitely something we’ll look back on with fondness and I’m so glad we did it. It was great fun but hard going at times, with lots of hours behind the wheel.
“Most days we drove for around 11 hours and on the first alone, we clocked up 550 miles. Some of the bangers were amazing and we were very pleased with our converted Batmobile.
“We painted it black, put logos on both sides and it looked as close to the real thing as possible. We saw some great reactions when people saw us coming. There were a lot of double-takes and it must have been a very odd sight.
“To the eye, it looked amazing but, from a driving perspective, it was a rusty old heap. It was a 19-year-old Audi TT with 176,000 miles on the clock, more dents than a steel drum and had been used as a dog bed for the previous four years!
“Lots of things either didn’t work or went wrong along the way.”
To get in the spirit, Tim, 45, and Paul, 44, who are old schoolfriends, spent much of the trip dressed as Batman and Robin. The first day of their challenge took in five countries – starting in Lille before driving through Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland – in time for an overnight stay in Thun, nestled in the heart of the Alps.
Day two included the Gran St Bernard pass, where The Italian Job was filmed, and finished in the Italian ski town of Salze D’Oulx. Tim and Paul then travelled from the heart of the mountains to the French Riviera, passing Monte Carlo, before arriving in the historic city of Arles.
The challenge then ended with a short drive to Barcelona, including a detour to the Costa Brava, before finishing with a party and award ceremony on the iconic Las Ramblas. The Wacky Rally took place from 30th June to 3rd July and Tim recently visited The Nook to present a cheque to Community Fundraiser Ellie Miller.
In his professional capacity as a surveyor, he was involved with the design and delivery of the hospice during the early stages its development.
“I live less than half a mile away, have been there several times and have a young family of my own, so it felt like the right charity to support,” said Tim, who has also visited The Treehouse, in Ipswich.
“EACH makes such an enormous difference to the children, young people and families needing care and support. The thought of what they go through is unbearable. It’s an amazing charity and the fact it’s almost entirely run by fundraising and income from its retail shops, with so little help from statutory sources, means it’s such an important cause to support.”
Tim and Paul’s fundraising page is still live. To show your support, head here.