Rally drivers go the distance for Chestnut Tree House

Claudine Bloom and co-driver Andy Twort with Amy, the 1975 Volvo Amazon car SUS-160908-152329001
Claudine Bloom and co-driver Andy Twort with Amy, the 1975 Volvo Amazon car SUS-160908-152329001

A duo of rally drivers were given a heroes welcome at the Amex after completing the 36 day, 8,500 mile Peking to Paris endurance car rally.

Claudine Bloom, 65, from Hove, and her co-driver, Andy Twort completed the tough course whilst raising over £10,000 for Sussex’s children’s hospice, Chestnut Tree House.

The duo set off on their treacherous journey through desert and mountainous terrain on June 12 in ‘Amy Amazon’, their 1965 Volvo Amazon car.

Claudine was a guest at the Chestnut Tree House snowman ball last December and heard stories about the hospice’s work in caring for children with life-shortening illnesses and decided to raise funds to help continue this vital service for local families.

Claudine said: “Chestnut Tree House needs to raise £6,850 every single day to pay for all the care services, both at the hospice and in families’ homes across Sussex.

“At the ball, I heard one of the mothers speak about the care her family received and, having visited Chestnut Tree House myself, I know what a difference their care makes to local children and their families.”

Claudine’s car, named Amy Amazon was accompanied by hospice mascot, Chestnut bear and they posted pictures of their progress onto a Facebook page set up for the rally.

Each team was only allowed to take what they could carry, including spare tyres and be able to fix the car if it broke down.

Apart from a fuel leak, Amy Amazon remained in good shape throughout the rally and managed to take 14th place overall, 3rd place in their class and won a coveted gold medal for achieving all of the time trials.

“Wherever we went we took Chestnut bear with us and everyone from the children to the Mongolian monks wanted to know about the hospice” added Claudine.

“Not in a million years did I think we would do so well.

“Four cars rolled, one went over a 100-foot drop, luckily the crew were okay, and all around us seemed to be falling apart but we kept plodding along at about 90km an hour - hour after hour.

“All-in-all, it was a mind-blowing experience and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Claudine, Andy and Amy are already planning their next adventure - the Sun Run through France in November.

It is not too late to support the duo and Chestnut Tree House. They are keeping their JustGiving page open for a little longer - www.justgiving.com/Amy-Amazon.

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