Cavalry mount fundraising drive for Veterans Aid

March 2, 2018
A weather-challenged rally in support of Veterans Aid raised more than £4,500 when 36 former members of the Household Cavalry took to the road recently.
Rally Master Glyn Jones said, ”We had a bit of a concern in The Ardennes forest with the weather, so cancelled the hill climb for safety reasons, other than that it went to plan.”
The HCAV Veterans Bangers Rally is an annual event with a vintage twist; the teams fund and prepare their own cars, all of which must be ‘road legal’ . . . but none can be worth more than £350.

Continuing their usual WW2 theme the teams drove from Dunkirk to Bastogne on March 2nd ending in Tournai the following day – a round trip of 700km that tested cars and drivers as they pushed through Europe. Two cars had punctures that the teams repaired and then rejoined the rally.

Rally Master Glyn Jones said, “Using older cars gave the guys a more level playing field in terms of vehicles and called on the skills they had as tank crew from back in their younger days. The fuel, ferry and hotels were all funded by the guys and we managed to get discount on the latter two thanks to DFDS and respectively, this kept the cost down but still required financial commitment for the individuals.”

“Previous rally routes have involved driving from Pegasus Bridge to Arnhem (via Waterloo) and last year was the length of all the Normandy Beaches and DZ’s ending in Honfleur. This was our third year.”

Driving was only one aspect of the ‘challenge’ however and in true HCAV tradition participants were distracted by an axe-throwing competition, timed race into Bastogne and ‘capture the flag’ exercise.

The hill climb was considered too dangerous because of extreme weather conditions so, in the interest of safety, had to be cancelled.

Rally Master Glyn confirmed that ‘a beer or two’ had featured in the final evening’s celebrations which centered around the awards for ‘Best Banger’ (Russ Vickers and Gus Brakes), Bus Stop Rankers – awarded for missing an RV (Will Bartle Jones and Damien Lipman) and Rally Champions (Steve Martin, Gwyn Thomas and Karl Sparkes).

Glyn said, “Like many veterans we all want to raise funds for the charities that support those of our comrades who may be less fortunate than ourselves. Our friend Clive, a former Household Cavalryman, was helped by Veterans Aid last year. We felt it both timely and relevant to donate to VA this year and also give Clive a way of putting something back in. We use a Just Giving page for donations and thus far have not dropped below £3k each year in donations. We are glad we have done the same for Veterans Aid this year.”

CEO of Veterans Aid Dr Hugh Milroy said, “We were delighted to be beneficiaries of the HCAV Rally this year and amazed at the amount it raised. This charity is very much part of the ‘military family’ and, like the Regiment, we look after our own. No veteran who seeks our help needs to become homeless or in distress, but our immediate interventions require constant funding. The money HCAV raised for us will be put to good use and on behalf of everyone at VA I want to thank them for supporting us.”

See highlight of the event on HCAV’s  Facebook.