FIVE men and this drivable shed are about to embark on a 3000-mile rally across Europe in a bid to raise funds for children's charities.
The York team is taking part in Scumrun 2014 - a charity rally across Europe, with 100 cars covering the distance in four days, using a vehicle costing no more than £500, to raise much-needed funds for national children's charities.
Calling themselves ‘50 Sheds of Grey’, the team turned the 1999 Renault Scenic, which they bought for £150 and nicknamed ‘Renee’, into a drivable ‘shed’.
Team member Thomas Belt, a 26-year-old chef, said: “The idea for the shed came shortly after we decided to take part. We were sat in the pub where we do all our best thinking, trying to think of something that hadn't been done before.
“At first we thought of just cladding the car in wood, then we thought why stop there? Why not add a pitched roof and turn it into a shed?
“We rang up a local sawmill for a quote for the wood, and they very kindly donated the wood for free so the dream became a reality.”
The target for fundraising is £500 but 50 Sheds of Grey has raised at least £1,250 from friends and family sponsoring them.
Thomas said: “Our friends and family all think we're a bit mad.”
He will be joined by Stuart Hawkin, a 27-year-old mechanic; Gary Ford, 34, a cluster manager for Kout food group; Sean Dunning, 23, a store manager for Bagel Nash and John Ainsworth, 26, who works for a town planning company.
Now in its sixth year, Scumrun’s chosen beneficiary for 2014 is Tommys, which funds research into pregnancy problems and providing support for families who have gone through miscarriages.
"We all think it’s a great charity," said Thomas. “We took a trip down to London to see how Renee managed on a good run and we broke down on the way back. But with a small amount of love and care and a whole lot of bodging we got her home.”
The team will be undertaking the journey in fancy dress and are hoping to win the “best dressed car award”.
Chief Executive of Tommy’s Jane Brewin said: “Team 50 Sheds of Grey have come up with a car that is truly unmistakable and we’re blown away by the efforts they have gone to for Scumrun in aid of Tommy’s.
"We can’t thank them enough for their support and enthusiasm in raising money for our charity, which will help to support parents all over the UK and help to save babies’ lives. We hope they have a journey they never forget – I don’t think anyone will be forgetting them in a hurry.”
Ed White, Scumrun’s managing director said: “Pre-natal problems are far too common and impact so many families. So we’re really excited to be supporting such a pioneering charity whose work will go so far to changing the lives of so many who are affected by these types of issues.”
The aim, using the funds generated by this year’s event, is to help Tommy’s open a fourth research centre in the UK. For more information, visit www.tommys.org.
To support 50 Sheds of Grey, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/fiftyshedsofgrey.