The HELP for HEROES 4×4 EUROPEAN RALLY 2012 followed the path and told the story of the Allied Invasion through Europe and included parts fabled by the Band of Brothers book and television series. As young men, who knew extraordinary bravery and extraordinary fear, the Allied Forces landed in France early on D-Day morning – 6th June 1944. The liberation of Europe had commenced. That history unfolded as our journey progressed; some parts of the route will also include areas of the ‘Western Front’ of WWI.
The event started at 11:30am on Saturday 16th June 2012 at Littlecote House Hotel in North Wiltshire. After using byways on Salisbury Plain we travelled via H4H HQ in Tidworth, RAF Odiham and Southwick House, to Portsmouth to embark on the ferry over to France. This 2000+ mile/3200+ km expedition encompassed 7 European countries over a period of 13 days; concluding in Bavaria, Germany. This non-speed touring assembly, with a maximum entry of 45 teams, is part military history tour (including museums etc), fun activities, part off-road driving and part club-type social, open to road-legal 4×4 vehicles. The whole focus is the raising of funds for the event’s chosen charity, HELP for HEROES.
In addition to Normandy, the H4H 4×4 Rally route visited WWI area in The Somme and Ypres, then the WWII ‘Market Garden’ and ‘Rhine’ offensives at Arnhem; where on 17 September 1944, in the largest airborne operation ever seen, thousands of paratroopers descended from the sky by parachute or glider up to 150 km behind enemy lines. Our route moved south, to Bastogne in Belgium where in the coldest winter for decades, the Germans made a final push – ‘The Battle of the Bulge’. Towards Germany, the rally routed via the Alsace region of France and its Maginot Line fortifications, then onto Dachau and its horrors of war. We ended our journey at Hitler’s “impenetrable” Eagle’s Nest at Berchtesgaden.
On 12th September 2012 we were proud to visit the H4H Recovery Centre, Tedworth House to hand over a cheque for £192,341.12.
The rally, which saw 42 teams travel 2,011 miles through seven countries took place in June. The teams visited poignant historical World War One and World War Two sites and this time visited Menin Gate in Ypres, where every evening the Last Post ceremony takes place to remember the fallen of WW1, and where the children that took part in the rally had the honour of laying a wreath.
The race, which then, was in its third year has continued to grow. This year’s cheque was for over £192,000 pounds, around 30 thousand pounds more than last year.
Tim Price-Bowen and Keith Bowen, the Event Organisers, are thrilled with its success and very grateful for the opportunity to go to Tedworth House, the new Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre (PRAC), to hand over the cheque. “A huge thanks to you and all at H4H Tedworth & H4H Tin Hut, Tidworth for making us so welcome today. As ever with H4H you and all those we meet are great people and fantastic ambassadors for the H4H cause. We know you are busy people and we were honoured that you were able to put time aside for us.”
The group enjoyed being shown round the Recovery Centre and meeting Tedworth House residents.
ABOVE: The Help for Heroes 4×4 European Rally Organisers, joined by Allan and Jan Creedy, the top fundraisers of the event, raising an impressive £33,000 pounds, and also event winners Dave and Dawn Shaw, handing over a cheque for £192,341.12 to the charity at Tedworth House, which is the new Personnel Recovery and Assessment Centre (PRAC)
ABOVE: A small selection of pictures from this event – for more pictures please visit our FaceBook page – CLICK HERE.
ABOVE: The Help for Heroes 4×4 European Rally 2102 appeared on Issue 9, Page 17, of the official ‘HEROES’ publication