Old bangers rally for SSAFA

09 August 2023

On Sunday, 24 September, the Veteran’s Banger Rally sets off for an action-packed rally through France and Spain to arrive in Gibraltar on the 1st October. Raising funds for SSAFA is Ian Thomas, Mercian veteran and volunteer for SSAFA London.

The annual rally is a fundraising event open only to veterans, or serving members of the Armed Forces. Each team must buy a ‘banger’ for under £1,000 and drive the 1,500 miles to Gibraltar, without the car breaking down to the point of not being able to continue.

Ian’s team consists of veterans who are raising funds for other military charities aside from SSAFA; Mark Sidwells (RAF), Blesma, John Bradley (Navy), We Remember Submariners, and Joe Tikoisuva (Rifles), CDARS Veterans’ Hub. The group have named themselves the ‘Merton Militia’ and are confident that they will make it to Gibraltar.

Ian said: “None of us are mechanics, and we are the most unlikely bunch to make up a team, but the car seems sound so I think we will be alright!”

The team met at t CDARS Veteran’s Hub and live at the veteran’s Haig Housing in Merton and the SSAFA Royal Homes in Wimbledon. They hope to meet up with supporters along the way, and raise much needed funds for their chosen charities.

Ian said: “The four of us have become good friends as members of CDARS Veterans Hub, meeting weekly for walks, monthly breakfasts, and events arranged by Joe. The rally will be a true adventure and challenge for us all....especially getting over the Pyrenees rather than cheating going through the tunnel!

“We are due to be at the Morgans Tavern in Benidorm at 1900 on 29 September. We will all be in fancy dress wearing something relative to the letter "B", so please come and see us if you are in the area. You’ll recognise me – I shall be dressed as one of the Baywatch team!”

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