Trio gear up for 'banger' car rally in aid of Motor Neurone Disease charity

Left to right Mark Mingo, Ian Please and John Bradley

Left to right Mark Mingo, Ian Please and John Bradley with their 'banger' - Credit: Contributed

Three friends from the Ottery St Mary area are embarking on a 5,000-mile road trip to raise awareness of Motor Neurone Disease on Sunday, June 5. 

Ian Please of Marsh Green, John Bradley of Ottery and Mark Mingo of Whimple are undertaking the Rust2Rome ‘banger’ car rally after two years of Covid-related delays. 

The trio, who are all former Sidmouth hockey players, will set off from Edinburgh and drive to Rome via France and the Swiss Alps, camping along the way and arriving on Wednesday, June 15. 

Their ‘banger’ car – donated by Ian’s brother-in-law Paul Mountford – will be emblazoned with stickers from local business sponsors and the logo of the Motor Neurone Disease Association. The charity supported Ian and his family throughout his wife Sarah’s long battle with the disease, which ended when she lost her life in May 2021. 

The three men have set up a JustGiving page in aid of the charity, and have already raised more than £1,370. 

All three men are full-time lorry drivers. Mark drives for The Donkey Sanctuary, John for Parsons Nationwide Distribution in Aylesbeare and Ian for his family business.  

But Ian said: “Despite driving all week, this will be a very different experience. We don’t actually know where we are going until each morning when the organisers give out the route details.  

“We are expecting to cover around 5000 miles in total. I have full confidence in the 20-year-old Volvo estate, which has been prepared with the help of Matt Rose, a friend and top mechanic.” 

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Motor Neurone Disease is a life-shortening disease, which affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord, leading to muscle weakening and wastage. It is currently incurable and symptoms progress at varying speeds, which makes prognosis difficult to predict. The Motor Neurone Disease Association funds and promotes research into understanding and treatments, bringing closer the possibility of a cure in the future.  

Ian, Mark and John are funding the whole trip themselves but hope that their adventure will raise awareness in Sarah’s memory, as well as funds for the local MNDA charity. 

Their JustGiving page can be found at