Chesterfield couple take on unique challenge to raise money for local hospitals

David Pipes and Gael Hepburn will be driving from Land's End to John O'Groats in a vintage car.

Chesterfield couple David Pipes and Gael Hepburn will be raising funds for local hospitals next month by driving from Land’s End to John O’Groats in their 1963 Riley.

However, this will be a drive with a difference as they will be following B-roads as much as possible and navigate by tulip diagrams, a system devised during the 1950s.

David and Gael decided to raise funds for Chesterfield Royal Hospital Charity and Weston Park Cancer Charity Sheffield after each hospital looked after them during periods of serious illness; David was diagnosed with prostate cancer and Gael suffered a mini-stroke that triggered epilepsy.

David says, “For some time we've wanted to find a way to say ‘thank you’ to Chesterfield Royal and Weston Park hospitals. I wanted to drive ‘LeJoG’ to celebrate my 70th birthday in 2019 so it was the perfect opportunity.

The direct route of around 874 miles didn't appeal to us and we decided to go by B-roads which will be longer but far more interesting. Navigating using tulip diagrams will be a bit of a challenge but hopefully not result in too many in-car disagreements.”

Gael adds, “I don’t know where I would be without the care and support of the specialists and nurses at The Royal, especially my epilepsy nurse and my GP who were both fantastic.”

Although David’s birthday is not until November, their trip has been planned for May to take advantage of better weather , longer daylight hours and to allow stops to be made at each hospital en route.

The car in which they will be making their journey is their 1963 Riley One-Point-Five saloon known as ‘Riley Blue’. In it David and Gael have previously travelled to France and toured many parts of the UK.

Their journey commences on May 9th when they leave Land’s End and they will call at Chesterfield Royal Hospital on Saturday, May 11th and Weston Park Hospital on Sunday, May 12th before arriving at John O’Groats on Wednesday, May 15th.

How far will David and Gael have driven? That will remain a secret until after the event as there is a supporters’ ‘Guess the Distance’ competition for supporters on their website together with links to Just Giving pages for each hospital’s charity.

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