Banger convoy to Arctic Circle

They defied the blistering heat and sands of the Sahara when they took part in the gruelling Plymouth-Banjul Rally in a 30-year-old car, raising �18,000 for good causes two years ago.

They defied the blistering heat and sands of the Sahara when they took part in the gruelling Plymouth-Banjul Rally in a 30-year-old car, raising �18,000 for good causes two years ago.

But instead of resting on their laurels, intrepid Norfolk adventurer Peter Laurie, 28, and friends Gareth Wallace and Jon Farley have now dreamed up an 'amazing adventure' of their own, devising a new charity challenge that takes in much colder climes.

On Easter Saturday the intrepid trio, who met at Brunel University, will be joined by nine other madcap recruits from across the country.

They will be setting off in a convoy of ancient bangers from Hyde Park, London, on The Snowdogers Rally - a 4,000 mile trek from the UK to Moldova via the Arctic circle. The six cars include a Volvo 240, Citroen AX and quintessentially British three-wheeled Reliant Robin, and each is worth less than �200.


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The aim is to raise one million Moldovan leu, (about �48,000), for two charities working to improve the lives of people in Moldova. Sandwiched between The Ukraine and Romania, it is officially ranked the poorest country in Europe with about a third of the population living below the poverty line.

'Initially it was Gareth's idea. He just sent an email saying 'I've thought of this crazy challenge, what do you reckon?' I am the kind of person who always says yes, and then thinks of the repercussions,' explained Mr Laurie, whose parents held a fund-raising brunch on Saturday at the family farm in Carleton Rode.

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'We started thinking about where are we going to go this time and drew a 4,000 mile circle around London on the map. It was the Middle East, North Africa again, or Europe. We had some contacts through friends with these charities in Moldova and quite early on that's where we wanted to go.

'I work for the London Underground, and was given a Nissan Bluebird by a colleague who was going to scrap it,' he continued.

'We have had to buy a new battery as it died last week, and have got lots of teething problems and woes. The petrol catch seized, the central locking isn't working very well, if you wind the windows down too far they get stuck, and you have to hit various parts of the dashboard to get the interior lights to work!

'But, most critically the aerial is broken so we are not going to be able to enjoy the delights of Finnish radio when we are travelling through.'

He stressed it is a challenge, not a race, and the teams will be helping each other out if they get into difficulties.

Mr Wallace, 29, whose old Saab 900 boasts the signature of former Prime Minister's wife Cherie Blair, said that rally drivers broke the world record for cramming 14 people into a three-wheeled Robin Reliant last month, to publicise the event. The Book of Alternative Records has acknowledged the feat.

His co-driver is Lucinda Beesley, who used to live in Norwich and is the only female member of the group.

Although it is expected to be great fun, the rally also has a serious purpose in raising funds to support victims of people-trafficking.

In Moldova it is becoming a significant issue with many children sold into the growing European sex industry.

The charities to benefit are Moldovian Ministries, which works with orphans, the homeless and prisoners, and Children on the Edge, which established a base in Moldova in 2007.

To sponsor any of the teams, or find out more about the rally and follow their journey, visit www.snowdodgers.co.uk

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