It all started with a Facebook conversation between two friends brainstorming ways in which they could raise money for their chosen charities. From here, the idea has now grown and grown and has led to an exciting and charitable reality. When Lance Corporal Paul Newland and former Wren Fiona Laing thought up the idea of the “Race for Freedom”, an 8,000 mile trip across Europe for charity, they never imagined just how incredible the support they received in response would be.
Since the idea was born, Laing and Newland have received a huge amount of interest in the forthcoming escapade, and the duo have now become a convoy of 12 cars being driven by former service men and women – plus a few supporters just wanting to take part! Don’t be fooled, though; this isn’t any normal road trip. The journey will follow an 8,000 mile route over some of the most challenging terrain, from sheer drops to the Pyrenees and Andorra mountain ranges. The “Race for Freedom” will take place over seven consecutive days, with those taking part fulfilling 8 hour long shifts. Although the route may prove to be gruelling at times, some of those taking part have extensive experience of driving across harsh terrains, and Laing herself has experienced the tracks at both Nurburgring and Monaco.
The convoy will set out on September 1st 2014, from Dover Castle via France and Spain and onto Andorra. Whilst passing through France on their journey home, the adventurers will attend a wreath laying ceremony in Bordeaux at the Cockleshell Hero Memorial. Donations have been flooding in and the fundraising total currently sits at just over £9,300 – just £700 off the £10,000 target they are hoping for.
Fiona Laing has been amazed by the response. She commented: “We just can’t believe how supportive and generous people have been. It’s good to be reminded that the Royal Navy and Royal Marines’ community is simply amazing”. The funds raised will be shared between two charities: the RN and RM Children’s Fund, and the Royal Marine Charitable Trust Fund.
If this inspires you, then take a road trip of your own, at home or abroad, before you set out on your adventure. Just make sure that you have the correct European breakdown cover in place before you go – after all, you wouldn’t want to breakdown mid-trip with no cover in place and an expensive bill at the end of it!