Seven battered old bangers plastered with Union Jacks and “held together with gaffer tape” set out from Ampthill next Thursday on a 1,600-mile “Brexit Tour” in support of the town’s campaign against prostate cancer.
The five 20-year-old Jaguars and two Rovers – none of which cost more than £500 to buy – will drive across eight European countries in four days after taking le Shuttle train to the official starting point in the French city of Reims.
But organiser Steve Butler, who will be driving one of the Jags and hopes that between them they will raise thousands of pounds, points out that the “Tour”, which includes a hair-raising trip through the Swiss Alps, is not a “race”.
Instead the four-man crews will be awarded points for things like having the “best turned out car”, arriving at check points on time each day – and then making the others giggle with the best jokes in the bar at night.
Local businessman Steve said: “We will all be having a laugh as well as hopefully raising many thousands of pounds to help the fight against the most common cancer among men in Britain.
“Our cars are pretty old and have all seen better days. But we have a couple of mechanics with us and are confident they will all make it there and back.
“This being a ‘Brexit Tour’, we did invite Boris Johnson along to wave us all off from Ampthill. We thought he might have penty of spare time now he’s quit as foreign minister. But he never replied!”
Any sponsors should call Steve or Ken Maguire on 01525 403319.
The first “official” day of the Tour will see the seven cars leave Reims, heading through Dijon for Mulhouse, near the Swiss border. On Day Two they will drive past Lake Lucerne to Chur, on the banks of the Rhine and reputedly the oldest town in Switzerland. Day Three will see them passing through Lichtenstein, Austria and Germany into Luxembourg. Then Day Four, they head home across Belgium and France before taking Le Shuttle back to England.
Ampthill has already smashed its target of collecting £20,000 over the summer for Prostate Cancer UK and the Engine and Tender pub, where the campaign started, beat more than 600 other British boozers to be named the national charity’s “Favourite Local” this year.
By mid-July the total had reached £20,559, with pubs, restaurants and other businesses in the historic Georgian market town backing the cause and arranging various fund-raising activities.
The money is still rolling in - and there is a slap-up black tie dinner at the town’s cricket club to round off the campaign at the end of September.
> Anybody wanting to help or get involved in the Prostate Cancer campaign should contact either Steve or Engine&Tender landlord Ken Maguire on 01525 403319.