Frank Hewson from Hull, a father of five and grandfather of nine, has had Type 1 diabetes for nearly 50 years, and this led to him receiving a new kidney four years ago.
He wanted to give something back to charities who help people in his condition, but as he suffers with a host of other illnesses and can’t run, walk or swim, he thought he would use one ability that he does have and which he enjoys – driving!
So a plan was hatched to drive his 1987 Montego Mayfair 2.0 around Britain non-stop over the weekend of 2nd-3rd June and raise money through donations. For this epic journey, Frank was accompanied by Graham Ness, a mechanic at the local JCT600 VW dealer and looks after Frank’s cars. As Frank says: ‘What could be better than taking your mechanic with you?’
The Montego is a low mileage example which Frank saw advertised for sale in Spain nearly two years ago. He was looking for one in excellent condition as he had fond memories of an MG Montego Turbo he’d had from new when working TC Harrison back in the 1980s when they had a franchise in Hull. Tempted by the promise of this virtually rust-free example, Frank drove 3000 miles to Spain and back with a trailer to get this one. Until this trip it had only 29,000 miles on the clock, but the planned route from Hull to Kent, across to Exeter, into Wales and then all the way up to Inverness before returning to Hull was set to add another 1850 miles to that total.
Things didn’t work out quite to plan, but they were not far off! A combination of road closures, accident delays and sheer volume of traffic put Frank and Graham well behind schedule, so the planned gentle cruising rate of 50mph was soon upped to the legal limit of 70mph wherever possible. Not that the Montego seemed bothered – it ran faultlessly the whole weekend, never missing a beat or using a drop of oil or water. The delays did mean missing out one detour to Aberdeen and another additional loop around the Midlands, but by the time our weary duo returned to Hull after 32 hours on the road, they had completed 1497 miles.
Now the real hard work begins – persuading people to part with their money! Everything raised will be divided between four charities: Diabetes UK, Kidney Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research. If you can spare anything to support these worthy causes, Frank has a fundraising page at www.gofundme.com/i-cant-run-or-swim-so-ill-drive. He will also be out and about with a the Montego and a rattle can at shows in the Hull area, so if you see him, do stop and say hello.