Learner drivers take on fog and rain for charity relay

The Big Learner Relay team in Alnwick.
The Big Learner Relay team in Alnwick.

The Alnwick to Berwick leg of a national fund-raising relay by driving instructors has raised at least £800 for BBC Children in Need.

As previously reported by the Gazette, John Mac, Dean Connor and Ian Gunby, all from Alnwick, along with Denise Lafferty, from Rothbury, all took part in the Big Learner Relay last Thursday.

The first Big Driver Relay took place last year with more than 1,000 drivers taking part, covering more than 2,500 miles and raising £65,500.

This year, the relay started with one day in Northern Ireland on Monday, October 26.

The Isle of Wight then kicked off the main route on Friday, October 30, and the convoy will finish its journey in Swindon tomorrow – Children in Need Appeal Day.

Denise said: “The event was fab with a real team spirit from all that took part.

“We met at 4pm and set off for Berwick after a lap through the town centre.

“We welcomed the relay from Seaton Delaval with a selection of cakes teas and coffees. Jonny D, the saxophonist, played during the event.

“The conditions were terrible – heavy rain and fog – but the pupils did a brilliant job driving on roads they had never been on before.

“I was lead car which meant I had the Pudsey roof box on top of the car and Lou Walsh, the event organiser, in the back of the car.”

Each instructor had a pupil currently having lessons driving the car. Denise was with Coquetdale councillor Steven Bridgett, while Jonny D was in Ian’s car. John Mac’s pupil was Craig Robinson, while Dean Connor’s learner was Becky Patterson.

The cars were all covered in the brightly-coloured spots associated with Children in Need, which were sponsored by family, friends and pupils.

Each person that sponsored a spot wrote their name and a message on it.

About £800 has been raised in total so far for Children in Need, but it is hoped more will come in before tomorrow.