Cavalcade of classic cars to tour North Coast 500 in fundraising drive

Kris O'Neill heads the start of the Cannonbawz Run 4.
Kris O'Neill heads the start of the Cannonbawz Run 4.

A gleaming cavalcade of classic, sports and super cars will stream past some of the north’s most stunning sights as a charity drive returns for its fifth year.

The Cannonbawz Run was created by Lossiemouth-based air ambulance paramedic Kris O’Neill to raise funds for the Marfan Trust medical research charity and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA).

It has amassed £16,000 for the organisations, both of which are close to Mr O’Neill’s heart.

And this year’s event will be the most adventurous yet, as 50 motorists set off from Elgin to take on the North Coast 500 tourist route.

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On the 500-mile trip around the northern coastline, they will take in stunning castles and views of Skye and the Outer Hebrides among other scenic locales.

Drivers will also sample local eateries along the route, with an overnight stop in Ullapool allowing them to enjoy live music and a charity auction.

Mr O’Neill’s younger brother, Liam, suffers from Marfan syndrome – a rare genetic disorder which affects the connective tissue around the body.

He was inspired to create his yearly fundraiser by the classic Burt Reynolds film Cannonball Run.

Mr O’Neill said: “It is absolutely incredible to think that we started this with seven cars and now we will have 50 taking part this year.

“We could have had even more but are limited to how many we can show off on Elgin High Street before setting off.

“It is amazing to see that a daft wee idea I had, inspired by Cannonball Run, has now become an annual event.

Posted by The CannonBawz Run on Wednesday, 19 June 2019

“Both charities we support are absolutely chuffed to bits with all the money we raise.”

The money collected for SCAA will go towards covering the costs of a new life-saving helicopter to be based in Aberdeen.

The charity committed to making the Granite City its base for a second helicopter last November – after a campaign supported by The Press and Journal.

It already operates one from Perth, and aims to have the second craft flying from the north-east by next March.

The cars taking part in the Cannonbawz Run will line up on Elgin High Street at 9am on Saturday, August 24, before setting out on their journey at 11am.

Only one of the 50 spaces remains, with the final spot being decided through a competition on the event’s social media sites.

There will also be a vehicle show at Dunrobin Castle on the Sunday.