The duo embarked on an epic charity challenge.
Claudine Bloom and her co-driver Andy Twort received a warm welcome at the Amex, after their gruelling 36-day and 8500-mile journey in the Peking to Paris Endurance Car Rally.
Bloom and Twort decided to take part in the gruelling challenge after attending the charity’s Tree House Snowman Spectacular Ball last December in Brighton, and Claudine was so moved by hearing about the hospice’s work caring for children with life-shortening illnesses right across Sussex, that she decided to undertake the challenge.
Claudine said, “Chestnut Tree House needs to raise £6850 every single day to pay for all the care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own 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.”
All the cars taking part in the Peking to Paris Rally had to be pre-1975 – the car Bloom and Tort used was a 1965 Volvo Amazon 122 model. Claudine set up her a Facebook page for the car, called Amy Amazon and the pair were also accompanied on the journey by hospice mascot, Chestnut Bear.
Both car and bear sent reports, pictures and videos of their progress throughout the trip. As each team was only allowed to take what they could carry, they had to bring all their spares with them and be able to fix the car if it broke down.
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Apart from having a leak in the fuel tank, the car remained in good shape throughout the rally, coming through to take 14th place overall, third place in their class and won a coveted gold medal for achieving every single one of their time trials.
Claudine added, “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 on at about 90km per hour – hour after hour!
“One of the best parts of the trip was going through Mongolia. There were no roads and very few people but it is an amazing country with spectacular scenery.
“In Russia, we had the most fantastic welcome. Everywhere we went there were crowds lining the route, flags waving and civic receptions for us – we felt like heroes!
“Wherever we went, we took Chestnut Bear with us and everyone from the children to the Mongolian monks wanted to know about him and the hospice. He had his photo taken numerous times and was featured twice on Russian TV – he helped open a lot of conversations so really did help spread the word about the wonderful work Chestnut Tree House does caring for children with life-shortening illnesses.
“All in all, it was a mind-blowingly amazing experience and I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”
You can read all about their amazing achievement on Amy Amazon’s Facebook page and it’s not too late to support Claudine, Andy, Amy and Chestnut Tree House – they are keeping their JustGiving page open for a little longer - www.justgiving.com/Amy-Amazon.
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