Gearing up for 2,500-mile trip across Europe for Niamh’s Next Step

Some of the drivers ahead of the trip across Europe
Some of the drivers ahead of the trip across Europe
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A team of fundraisers are preparing to drive 2,500 miles in four days to raise awareness of the disease which claimed the life of a five-year-old girl.

About 70 people have signed up to the driving challenge, starting from Wellingborough on June 6 and travelling through eight countries before returning home.

Each of the 24 teams signed up has bought a car for £500 or less and will be using the trip to raise funds for Niamh’s Next Step, the charity set up in memory of Niamh Curry from Wellingborough.

Event organiser Carl Baldry said the idea came about through a Facebook discussion about coming up with a driving challenge in the style of Top Gear, which then just snowballed.

Mr Baldry said: “We know Niamh’s Next Step because our kids go to the same school.

“I said I would organise it, and within a week the idea had just snowballed.

“We have done the route, got hotels booked and we have got about 24 teams so that’s between 65 and 70 people.

“Some days are going to be long, it could be 16 or 17 hours of driving.

“We have got eight countries, four days, three nights and just under 2,600 miles.

“It’s brought people together, including a guy from Northern France who has joined us and will meet us at Calais.

“The only rule I set was you can’t spend more than £500 on a car.

“It’s amazing what you can buy for £500.”

Starting from The Locomotive in Wellingborough, the teams will then head to Dover, Calais, Reims, Millau, Monaco, Genoa, Stelvio Pass, Stuttgart, Cologne, Dusseldorf and Antwerp before returning to Dover via Calais and back to Wellingborough on June 9.

Mr Baldry added: “We want to raise as much as possible for Niamh’s Next Step, but if we could get to £10,000 we would be over the moon. Everybody has been putting the time and the effort in, everyone is very excited.”

Niamh’s dad Chris Curry said: “It’s going to be an amazing event and experience.

“To put themselves out and the expense they are going to to make this happen is incredible. I am so pleased they are doing this for us.”

Mr Curry, who set up the charity with wife Sam after Niamh lost her 18-month fight against childhood cancer neuroblastoma in May 2012, said he is thrilled that the team will be raising cash as well as awareness about the disease as they travel through Europe. Each of the cars is emblazoned with stickers saying why they are doing it, and they have a giant banner too.

To keep up-to-date with the challenge, follow @NNSIntoEurope on Twitter or visit www.justgiving.com/Niamhs-Next-step-into-Europe to make a donation. For details visit www.niamhsnextstep.com.