Aylesbury Local Tom Francis and friends take on mammoth charity drive

Aylesbury Local Tom Francis and friends take on mammoth charity drive
Aylesbury Local Tom Francis and friends take on mammoth charity drive

Four young accountants to launch the inaugural Lada Rally organised to raise awareness and funds for the work of refugee charity The Worldwide Tribe and to deliver much-needed vehicles to organisations working in migrant camps.

Tom Francis, who attended Aylesbury Grammar School has recently completed the London Marathon, raising money for SENSE.

He was keen to go again nearly straight away, and was looking for a new fundraising charity.

He is one of four young accountants to launch the inaugural Lada Rally organised to raise awareness and funds for the work of refugee charity The Worldwide Tribe and to deliver much-needed vehicles to organisations working in migrant camps.

On 26 August 34 young people in ten cars sourced in Tallinn, Estonia will set off with nothing but a used car, a map and a deadline: meet in Split, Croatia in seven days.

For the rally itself, teams must set off with a local used-car priced at no more than £500. All ten cars will then be released to find their way to Croatia – with the aim of hitting as many Eastern European destinations as possible along the way. In order to qualify as a finisher, each team must reach Split before 2pm on Saturday 2nd September.

The cars will then be driven from Split to refugee camps in Athens and Thessaloniki, where they will be donated to refugee organisations, who will use the much-needed vehicles to run their campaigns and projects.

The four founders of the rally came up with the idea on their lunch break at work, as they compared travel destinations and realised that there was much of Eastern Europe that they were yet to visit.

Tom Francis, Lada Rally founding member, said: “At lunch one day we were using a travel app to compare destinations that we had each been to, when we realised there were huge swathes of Eastern Europe that we were all yet to visit. From this, we began to think about an epic trip that we could take to remedy this - and more importantly, how we could turn this trip into something meaningful… hence the Lada Rally was born.”

Crucially, the aim of the rally is not simply to reach the destination in the quickest time. Each team will gain points according to how many different countries and places of interest the teams manage to hit along the way. The teams will use social media to track other competitors along the way, before they reunite in Croatia for the closing party and grand presentation ceremony.

Jasmin O’Hara, founder of The Worldwide Tribe, said: “Our mission at The Worldwide Tribe is to encourage community and communication between people affected by the refugee crisis, providing humanitarian support and tangible, on the ground solutions. The Lada Rally is our most exciting fundraiser yet - not only is it an epic journey, crossing borders and locations in the same way that our work spans across many locations across Europe… but it also has multiple positive outcomes.

"The donated cars will help transporting volunteers to and from projects, as well as getting local residents of the camps from A to Z – for example, hospital visits, access to schools and education, asylum interviews and other opportunities.”

To donate to the cause, visit: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/ladarally1