Wiltshire Publications

Friends return from 2,980-mile Barcelona banger race

A GROUP from Dilton Marsh has returned from their 2,980-mile round trip rally race to Barcelona raising money for Refuge,  in a £300 ‘banger’ car painted as ‘Where’s Wally’.

The group of friends, Martyn Jones, Ben Griffiths, Olly Wilson, Bethan Laker and Rosy Chard, with Olly leaving part-way through due to work commitments, embarked on the mammoth road trip to Barcelona on Wednesday 23rd May, to compete in a banger race against 20 other teams, in aid of the national domestic violence charity, Refuge.

Martyn Jones explained why they wanted to raise money for Refuge. In 2010, Martyn’s sister, Debbie, and her best friend, were murdered by Debbie’s ex-husband, following a prolonged period of domestic abuse.

Martyn told White Horse News, “I’ve wanted to do something in memory of my sister and also always wanted to do something like the banger racing, so it made sense to put the two together.”

In a transformed 2001 Renault Scenic to the theme of Where’s Wally including a fetching bobble hat, hair and dog mascot, the group battled soaring temperatures, broken air-con, European car parks and exhaustion, raising over £2,500 for the charity.

The journey started in Hull with an overnight ferry to Zeebrugge, then to Bruges, where they met the rest of the 20 teams. They then continued through Luxembourg to Strasbourg to Geneva, where Olly left due to work commitments, and Martyn and Ben picked up Bethan and Rosy. They continued to Annecy and Turin en route to Monaco. They arrived during the Monaco grand-prix weekend, so Wally attracted the attention of the hundreds of people visiting the area before they then hit Cannes and finally Barcelona.

When they arrived in Barcelona, they were awarded with a cash prize and trophy for being ‘Best Banger.’.

Martyn continued, “When we turned up, not taking anything away from it, but we knew we had won the Best Banger trophy. We looked at all the other cars,  there was a Jurassic Park-themed car, Pink Ladies and a Yellow Submarine, but you could tell that they probably only spent a couple of hours painting their cars, whereas we spent four long nights working from 5pm-midnight.”

After the celebrations, they stayed overnight and then drove all the way home the next day, driving a total of 19 hours in one day. They were only one of four teams who decided to drive home, with the other teams opting to scrap their cars for money. The Where’s Wally team was also the only team to drive back the next day, the rest staying longer in Barcelona.

Next steps for the team is to host a quiz night in their  local pub, The Prince of Wales, who got involved after hearing of the team’s efforts.  Then, the plan will be, if they can bring themselves to part with their trusty companion, to auction Wally off to add to the final fundraising total.

Sandra Horley CBE, chief executive of national domestic violence charity Refuge says, “We are delighted that Martyn Jones and the team have chosen to raise money for Refuge during their Barcelona Bangers event.

“In a climate of funding cuts, every financial donation helps us continue to provide our life-saving and life-changing services.

“Around every £50 we receive in donations could provide a night in a refuge for a woman escaping domestic abuse.

“We are thrilled that Martyn will not only be raising money for our vital work, but also using the opportunity to remember his sister, Debbie, and her friend, who lost their lives to domestic violence. Sadly, two women a week are killed by a current or former partner in England and Wales.

“We wouldn’t be able to run our services without support like Martyn’s and we are truly grateful for it.”

To donate visit their fundraising page at:   https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/barcabangers

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