I'd love to drive

26 April 2023

From London to Gibraltar in an old Banger



With their iconic scarlet uniforms and cheerful smiles, they are instantly a recognisable part of the London backdrop, but not many people know that the Pensioners are army veterans… many of them war heroes who wear their medals with pride.

You might be forgiven for thinking that by now, these veterans will have done enough for their country and will be content to rest on their laurels but no, most of them enjoy life far too much for that and are happy to use their past experiences to help others.

Take Chris O’Connor for instance. Here at Back on Track, we are proud to say that Chris, along with two colleagues….Rev. Colin Paterson and Richard Graham…are supporters of our charity and have a wealth of experience to share. He joined the Army in September 1958 aged just 16, and served in different regiments deployed around the world, including a stint aboard HMS Fearless as part of the Beach Recovery crew.

He has been at the Royal Hospital Chelsea for 3 years now and still won’t rest. Like many of the Chelsea Pensioners, he is passionate about helping others.

However, still looking for a challenge, Chris took part in the Veterans Banger Rally in 2022 and raised money for two charities…but he wants to do more, so has signed up for the Race again in 2023 in order to raise funds for three charities…Back on Track, his home the Royal Hospital Chelsea and Blind Veterans.

So….he likes to drive. Did we mention that Chris is 81! The Veterans Banger Rally 2023 (24th September to 1st October) is over 1500 miles from London to Gibraltar in a banger worth less than £1000…and that’s a long way when a lot of the usual comforts such as good suspension and air conditioning are missing.

Some of the teams simply scrap their car at the end, but others take part in a Top Gear-style race back to the UK. Guess which one Chris has opted to do?? Yup…he is driving it back and not only that he is donating the car to Back on Track and it will be auctioned at our Dancing with Heroes Ball on Saturday 25th November 2023.

PLEASE DONATE AND HELP CHRIS: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/geoff-read-memorial-team

Every donation, however small will go towards helping these very worthy veterans charities.

Chris’s team is being sponsored by two lovely companies…PSS (pssgroup.net) and Guarding UK (guk.co.uk) whose generosity covers the costs of the race itself…but Chris needs help from all of us if he is going to reach, or exceed, his target of £30,000.

What are we up to?

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