A north-east medication deliveryman is taking his petrolhead passion to the next level – raising cash for sick kids in the process.
In June, 42-year-old retired airline pilot John Pearce will head on a mammoth 3,700-mile round-trip to Rome.
But, rather than taking to the skies, he’ll be travelling in a £400 “banger” with 215,000 miles on the clock, collecting donations for local charity The Archie Foundation.
He’ll also be joined in the 16-year-old Volvo S40 by partner Jen and their Highland cow mascot, also named Archie, documenting their adventures as they go.
Why John chose to fundraise for The Archie Foundation
John first had the idea after he left the aviation industry, looking for a “restart” in life.
He signed up to the Rust2Rome adventure, where participants spend 10 days driving from Edinburgh to Rome in a car worth less than £500.
A second wave of inspiration hit when he was completing one of his regular delivery drop-offs at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital.
John was aware of the crucial difference the staff there can make to families, as his partner’s son had spent two weeks in intensive care with breathing difficulties shortly after they were born.
And one trip in particular stood out in his mind.
“I saw some parents leaving the [hospital] building and they seemed very concerned,” he recalled.
“And then I looked up and could see someone holding a child up at a window, looking at a rescue helicopter that had just landed.”
John decided he’d use the trip to raise money for The Archie Foundation, which funds staff, equipment and activities for children’s hospitals in Aberdeen, Inverness and Dundee.
These youngsters will also be at the forefront of his mind during the trip in June, with the couple planning to send back regular updates of their adventure.
John has already documented Archie’s escapades checking the engine oil and practising steering.
He hopes it’ll put a smile on their faces during a tough time, adding: “We’re doing this for the kids.”
Cassie McGunnigle from The Archie Foundation said: “This is such a fantastic challenge John and Jen are undertaking for Archie, we are so grateful for their support and we really hope the local community will ‘rally’ around them!”
The pair are hoping to raise £3,700 for the charity – one pound for every mile they travel.
For more information or to make a donation, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/muppetsr2r