July 30 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, July 10, 2014
A Suffolk family has raised nearly £10,000 for wounded soldiers during an extreme rally around pivotal European battlegrounds.
Seven members of the Miller family from Woodbridge spent 12 days touring across the continent as participants in the Help For Heroes 4x4 European Rally 2014.
The family, led by John Miller, who has raised more than £35,000 for the charity over the past four years, joined around 45 teams of adventurous fundraisers to take part in the First World War centenary outing of the annual rally.
Setting off from Salisbury Plains, the teams followed “tulips” – the navigation cards used in competitive rally races – to cover 2,000 miles across seven European countries, finishing at Eagle’s Nest where Hitler made his base on the Germany/Austria border.
Paul Watson, Mr Miller’s son-in-law, led one of two family teams in his Land Rover Discovery, and said it was one of the most rewarding experiences of his life.
Accompanied by his partner Lara Tillett and their two children Rupert, 10, and Mimi, 7, Mr Watson described how they motored through the challenging terrain of an opencast mine, climbing near vertical inclines and splashing through muddy ditches.
“The whole thing was really quite daunting because at the start we did not know where we were going or what we were doing,” he said. “But after two days it became much easier as we could understand what was expected and what we needed to do. It was really hard but extremely rewarding and the camaraderie of the people involved was fantastic.”
Aside from the thrilling off-road adventures, Mr Watson said the poignant wartime settings offered a more sombre cause for reflection.
As a former serviceman, with a military family tradition, the 43-year-old architect said he was particularly affected by his time in Arras, where his great grandfather had died during the First World War.
So far,the family has raised around £9,800 for the charity through donations and sponsorship. The East Coast Diner in Woodbridge supported the Millers by donating 50p from each sale of its Help For Heroes burger.
Donations can be made at www.bmycharity.com/johnmillerfamily2014 or the East Coast Diner.