We are celebrating the completion of our first-ever international event, with the conclusion of the Disabled Motoring UK, Alps Challenge, which we organised and publicised for the national charity. The Alps Challenge highlights the fact that The Lively Crew can provide a full marketing AND event service for businesses looking to expand or re-brand their profile
Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and the Alps Challenge team crossed the finish line at the Houses of Parliament on Thursday 16th June, after a journey fraught with difficulties, of over 1,820 miles on a 1932 Argson mobility trike.
True to form the trike, which had already crossed the Swiss Alps back in 1947, under the steam of Disabled Motoring UK founder Denny Denly, broke down just 50m from the finishing line. However, team mechanic Sgt Dinger Bell of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers was once more able to coax the trike back to life, and able to triumphantly make its way down College Green and over the finishing line, under the watchful eye of Big Ben, members of Disabled Motoring UK and well-wishers. Former Paralympian Baroness Tanni powered the trike through the finish line to cheers which would have brought back memories of Paralympic success.
The team, on board Denny’s original trike, covered the 1,820 miles from London through the Swiss Alps to Geneva via Paris and home again in only 13 days, in large part thanks to the skilful driving of Disabled Motoring UK member Dan McIntyre and Sgt Bell, who was often called upon to bring the trike back to life. The cobbled Alpine streets played havoc with the 80 year old vehicle, leaving Sgt Bell to pick up the pieces, including having to completely remove a broken idler, re-weld on the milometer and numerous puncture repairs. To that end the team were indebted to Sgt Bell and the support vehicles kindly loaned by Just Hire Solutions Ltd. The Alps Challenge also could not have happened without the financial support of Unity Law.
As well as running repairs to the trike and confused looks from the local populations, the team had to encounter the notorious Alpine weather which ranged from baking sun to snow, within a couple of hours in a trike which has no windshield, cover or roof.
With the journey completed the team enjoyed a reception with MPs including the Minister for Disabled People Maria Miller, Elizabeth Truss, Chloe Smith, Richard Bacon and George Freeman. At the reception Charity Chairman Adrian V Stokes gave a presentation on the history of the charity and Director of Policy and Campaigns Helen Dolphin spoke about the campaigning work of the charity and the battles disabled people still have to face.
Minister for the Disabled Maria Miller said “This journey has been truly remarkable and I want to thank all the members of the team for once more raising the public consciousness of the issues disabled people face. I am very grateful to organisations such as Disabled Motoring UK and I would very much like to arrange a further meeting to discuss how we can continue to move forward from here.”
Disabled Motoring UK CEO Graham Footer added “Having now undertaken the Alps Challenge and followed in Denny’s footsteps I truly realise the monumental nature of Denny’s achievement. I believe recreating the trip has shown just how far disabled equality has come in the 64 years since Denny crossed the Alps, but also how much further we still have to go.”
Disabled Motoring UK will celebrate the return of the Alps Challenge team, alongside other notable advancements for disabled motorists at the inaugural Disabled Motoring UK Awards on Thursday 16th September 2011.