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Monte Carlo or Bust

Jamie (l) and Lookers Parts Manager, Paul Cook (r)

Would you ever consider driving through Europe in a car which cost less than an average weekly shop? Well that’s exactly what 30 year old Jamie Hewison is about to do – all in the name of charity.

Jamie will participate in the Monte Carlo or Bust rally in a Skoda Felicia. The event, due to kick off on July 22nd, challenges drivers to buy a car for £300 or less and then drive on Europe’s greatest roads and cities for 3 days with the aim of reaching Monte Carlo.

Upon completion of the rally, Jamie - an emergency medical technician - hopes to raise as much as he can for the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Work on the car is currently being undertaken by Hilton College in Sunderland who have generously agreed to make the 17 year old Czech supermini roadworthy - completely free of charge.

And Newcastle based Jamie has had a little help from the Lookers family too. Kind-hearted staff at Skoda Newcastle have provided the intrepid driver, who paid just £70 for his car, with a full service kit, including spare parts and oil, plus a £100 donation. Speaking of the contribution, Dave Roberts General Manager of Lookers Skoda said “This daft challenge I think would merit a lot of PR and the cause is one close to my heart given that my wife's work needed the air ambulance just last week.”

Before he heads off on his adventure Jamie has taken some time out from his busy day helping patients around the Gateshead area, to answer some quick fire questions.

1. Tell us about yourself

I'm 30 years old, I'm an emergency medical technician working for the ambulance service responding to emergency calls from the public. I live in Newcastle and stationed in Gateshead, we can respond to an emergency call anywhere from Berwick to Coulby-Newham and everywhere in between!!

2. How did you get involved with the charity?

Through work, there are times when a helicopter is essential for the safety of the patient, ensuring a rapid and very smooth extrication to hospital with the advanced skills of the onboard paramedics and doctors.

3. What inspired you to take part in the event?

I've always wanted to do something similar, ever since seeing a similar event on YouTube years ago and thinking "that would be a laugh" the rally will be around 100 old bangers of varying age, the only stipulation is the car should be under £300.

4. How did you connect with Lookers?

I drive past the Newcastle dealership every day on my way to and from work, when we finally acquired our old Felicia, I sent a cheeky email through the website asking for parts, not really expecting to hear anything back. We've now sent a number of other cheeky emails and have breakdown cover from the RAC, welding and electrical work being carried out by Hylton Collage in Sunderland, and coffee to keep us awake and a donation from Death Wish Coffee!!

5. How much are you hoping to raise?

We haven't really set a limit, one hour of flight for the Air Ambulance is around £350, we'd like to raise at least that, hopefully more!

6. What will this money be used for?

Anything the air ambulance service sees fit to use it for, whether that be towards medical supplies, fuel, maintenance of the regions 3 helicopters... We trust them to put it to good use!

7. What is the one thing you are looking forward to most, during the challenge?

Driving over the alpine pass into Italy, the views will be spectacular!

8. And the least?

4 people cramped in a Felicia for a week! It's not the biggest car in the world!

Good luck to Jamie. If you can help him reach (or even beat) his target please visit www.justgiving.com/MCOBstrangers or for more information: Facebook.com/MCOBstrangers

By Tracey McBain