Rally bid to help children

It will be an arduous journey through difficult mountain terrain, deserts, chaotic city traffic, tiger reserves or tribal forests.But Jack McMasters from Tittleshall has no fear.

It will be an arduous journey through difficult mountain terrain, deserts, chaotic city traffic, tiger reserves or tribal forests.

But Jack McMasters from Tittleshall has no fear.

The 67-year-old former motorcar designer is training to face the strenuous challenge that will take him on a 2,000 km rally from Goa to Cochin in south west India. And all for a good cause - to raise a considerable amount of money to help children with terminal illnesses in Britain as well as support the building of a much-needed hospital for some of the most vulnerable people in the Palani Hill range in the south of the country.

Taking place in October, the event is an endurance rally with a twist, as the cars used by all contestants will be Hindustan Ambassadors, a type of car based on 1950s Morris Oxfords, who in the words of the organisers “handle like a drunken badger.”

The event - Karma Enduro - which will be repeated immediately after the completion of the first rally is open to all experience levels and age groups and is a test of spirit rather than skill, with participants expected to drive six to 10 hours a day.

“I have never been to India before, and never driven a Morris Oxford,” said Mr McMasters.

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“The event will place great physical demands on all of the competitors' reserves and I am preparing for this not by hours in the gym, but by manually digging footings, mixing concrete and pouring foundations, laying bricks for garden walls and building patios around the new house I have built since retiring.”

Mr McMasters is trying to raise as much of the cost of competing as possible by car boot sales, selling redundant furniture and dipping into savings so that sponsorship will go to the charities involved.

“In addition to the money which will go to support the building of the hospital in south India, I am also looking to collect money that will go to the Rainbow Trust, a charity with respite homes in Surrey and Northumberland for children with life-threatening or terminal illnesses.”

The two charities involved will be Adventure Ashram and Rainbow Trust. The entry fee is £4,995 per person, or £8,495 for a pair.

“I am currently looking for groups or organisations interested to sponsor me in return for advertising space on my car, or presenting lecture evenings or attending exhibitions and would welcome any help, support or advice.”

Anyone interested in helping should contact Mr McMasters on 01328 701390 or by e-mail jacko.mcmasters@btinternet.com