Convoy for heroes a roaring success

CONVOY: Convoy for Heroes participants Ian Jones, Craig Draper, Keith Hogg and Les Winspear.
CONVOY: Convoy for Heroes participants Ian Jones, Craig Draper, Keith Hogg and Les Winspear.

A GROUP of drivers have returned home after taking part in one of the longest-ever convoys of Land Rovers.

Hartlepool men Ian Jones, Keith Hogg, Craig Draper and Les Winspear travelled down to Leicestershire to take part in the innovative fundraising drive in aid of Help for Heroes.

Convoy for Heroes is a Land Rover drivers’ initiative which sees hundreds of like-minded people drive their vehicles in convoy around a former airfield.

They were hoping to smash last year’s Guinness World Record of 348, with a target of 1,000 vehicles driving in a line 9ft apart within a three-hour time slot.

They did break last year’s record, with 355 Land Rovers taking part, but unfortunately an event in South Africa in March saw 1,001 Land Rovers in convoy.

All proceeds from the event at Prestwold Hall, in Leicestershire, go to the national charity, which provides help and support for injured servicemen and women.

Ian, 55, from the Stockton Road area of town, owns the Land Rover Freelander that the group drove in to the event over the Easter weekend.

The dad-of-three said: “The convoy was a great event with 355 land rovers, which beat last year’s world record by seven.

“Unfortunately, partly due to the weather and the current financial climate we did not make the 1,000.

“However, in March the South Africans took the world record with 1,001 Land Rovers in convoy.

“We are looking forward to taking part in next year’s event.”

The fork-lift truck operator, who is married to Barbara Jones, 50, took part alongside his step-son, Craig, a 25-year-old engineer from the marina, Ian’s father-in-law, Keith, 71, a school caretaker from Brenda Road, and Ian’s wife’s uncle, Les, 52.

Meanwhile, Keith shaved his beard off at the event to raise£170, which was handed over to the Convoy for Heroes organisers.

He had been sponsored by family, friends and staff at St Aidan’s School, in Loyalty Road.